October 15 is National Latino AIDS Awareness Day
is a growing HIV/AIDS crisis in parts of the United States, with Hispanics
accounting for one in every five new HIV infections,” Representative Ileana
Ros-Lehtinen (R – FL), chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, told
the audience at a September 20 Capitol Hill Congressional briefing on HIV/AIDS
and hepatitis among Latinos in the U.S.
each year by the Latino Commission on AIDS with community partners from across
the nation, the briefing kicked off events leading up to the 10th National Latino AIDS Awareness Day which is held on October 15 each year. The commemoration day aims to bring greater
attention to the impact of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis on Latino communities in the
“Many barriers remain that still prevent
Hispanics from seeking testing. Along with a strong social stigma that is
attached to this disease, there still remain language barriers and fears over
immigration status that deter testing,” continued Representative Ros-Lehtinen.
typically takes 10 to 12 years after initial HIV infection for AIDS to develop
in a person, 42 percent of Latinos who test HIV positive are diagnosed with
AIDS within a year, indicating that many are not tested until they start
developing symptoms of AIDS. Making sure
prevention and treatment efforts provide culturally relevant access to care for
all Latinos, regardless of immigration status or language barriers is an
important theme leading up to this year’s National Latino AIDS Awareness Day.
service campaigns like Es Mejor Saber (It’s Better to Know), produced by
Southwest CARE Center, an HIV test and treatment facility in New Mexico, place
emphasis on reaching Latinos using unique and engaging mediums like murals.
Events around National Latino AIDS Awareness Day are organized
in more than 350 cities and 45 states across the country and territories,
mobilizing communities to promote HIV testing opportunities, connect people to
care, and to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS.
You can find a free or low-cost test site
in your area by calling a hotline at 1-800-232-4636 or using the web-based
resources listed on the CDC website in Spanish or English.