Rev. A.J. Johnson CEO/Founder, Baton Rouge AIDS Society
Rev. A. J. Johnson is the CEO and Founder of the Baton Rouge AIDS Society (BRASS). BRASS provides HIV testing and training services to over 5,000 individuals within the state of Louisiana on an annual basis with special emphasis on the Greater Baton Rouge area. This includes prisons, churches, schools and the general population. BRASS is the only agency that offers rapid testing 24/7/365 that provides testing for a fee by an experienced counselor at a time and location that is best for the client.
During his fight against HIV/AIDS, Rev. Johnson has served as a Disease Intervention Specialist with the Office of Public Health and Hospitals and the Assistant Executive Director of Friends for Life AIDS Resource Center. In 2013, Rev. Johnson was appointed by the governor as a member of the Louisiana Commission on HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis. He has worked with the HIV/AIDS Alliance for Region II Board of Directors and was recently elected to represent Baton Rouge on the Statewide HIV Community Planning Group.
He is a certified HIV Counselor by the Louisiana Office of Public Health Department of Health and Hospitals & Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a certified instructor through the Louisiana Department of Education, a certified Social Change Researcher through the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University, a certified leadership instructor through the Kellogg Foundation and a certified HIV/AIDS instructor for Basic HIV/AIDS Information and African American HIV Training through the National Red Cross Association.
Rev. A.J. Johnson, a native of New Orleans, moved to Baton Rouge in December of 1995. In 1998, he decided to respond to the unmet needs of HIV/AIDS education within the Baton Rouge community by founding the first minority AIDS Servicing Organization (ASO) in the city, BRASS. For two years, the organization survived in the second bedroom of A.J.’s two bedroom apartment. In 2000, A.J. received his first major grant from the Office of Public Health to provide FREE HIV Counseling and Testing, Street Outreach, Condom Availability and Community Outreach services. As-of-date, the organization continues to be funded by this state office.
In 2005, BRASS received a grant from the Office of Minority Health to manage a Faith based AIDS Coalition for Technical assistance and Services (FACTS). Twelve churches were selected to participate in this three year funding period. In addition to the 12 churches, BRASS has 46 churches in the Baton Rouge and surrounding areas that are part of their Faith Based Initiative (The FBI).
With the support of his family, wife-Gabrielle Johnson and daughter-Jazmine Johnson, he is able to serve as an educational and motivational speaker at various local, regional and national events.
How can viewers distinguish between fact and fake news and is social media blurring the difference?
According to the 2018 Louisiana Survey, when it comes to trusting news organizations, more Louisiana residents put their faith in local media than national media outlets. Despite that trust, only 36 percent of the state’s news consumers say local news deals fairly with both sides.
So, why is there so much mistrust of the news media? Where are consumers primarily getting their news? How can viewers distinguish between fact and fake news and is social media blurring the difference? Louisiana Public Square looks for answers to these questions and more on a special encore presentation of “News about the News” airing Wednesday, December 26 at 7pm on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE.