HIV does not affect all Americans equally. According to the CDC, Latino men and women accounted for nearly a quarter of new infections in 2013, despite making up just 17% of the total population. The rate of new infections among Latinos is three times higher than that of whites, and they are more than twice as likely as whites to be living with HIV.
The epidemic's disproportionate impact on Latinos, the largest and fastest growing ethnic minority in the U.S., is in part due to a number of cultural and socioeconomic factors. They include inadequate or no access to healthcare, language barriers, immigration status, discrimination, and stigma; and all act to limit awareness about HIV infection risks and opportunities for counseling, testing, and treatment.
The Latino Commission on AIDS—with the help of the Hispanic Federation—has designated October 15 as National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD) with the goal of promoting HIV awareness and prevention among the Latino community.
"The spread of HIV among Latinos is directly tied to our social and environmental conditions," said NLAAD Program Manager Tony Ochoa, of the Latino Commission on AIDS. "In order for us to impact the spread of HIV among Latinos we need to introduce HIV in discussions around immigration, education, healthcare access, labor policy, other health conditions Latinos face, and the gamut of issues impacting Latinos."
The theme of this year's National Latino AIDS Awareness Day, "You & I Will Defeat AIDS," emphasizes the importance of getting tested, being committed to knowing and sharing the facts about HIV, and getting into and maintaining care if infected. "A cornerstone of National Latino AIDS Awareness Day and the Latino Commission on AIDS is having a multipronged approach to addressing HIV, being present in conversations on issues affecting Latinos, and developing nontraditional partnerships that are key in reducing the spread of HIV in our communities," said Ochoa.
To get involved or for more information, visit:
The Latino Commission on AIDS
The Hispanic Federation
National Latino AIDS Awareness Day
National HIV and STD Testing Resources