New Orleans - A collaborative effort between local and state government and area community-based organizations is spearheading a variety of events to help raise awareness of HIV and AIDS in our community. New Orleans currently ranks 5th in the nation for AIDS case rates among major metropolitan areas in the United States.In honor of a relative who died of AIDS contracted from a blood transfusion during heart by-pass surgery. To this day, the immediate family would not wish his name to be mentioned. His funeral was private; the extended family was never told the cause of death. We knew because when one family member went to visit him in the hospital and asked if he had a diagnosis, he laughed and said the doctor thought he might have AIDS, which seemed impossible to him at the time. As best as I can remember, this was sometime in the 1980s.