On this National Latino AIDS Awareness Day, October 15, 2010, the leadership of the Hispanic/Latino HIV/AIDS community is assembling an impressive national grassroots network of community based organization and HIV/AIDS services providers to focus attention on the many challenges related to HIV prevention, testing, and treatment facing the Hispanic/Latino community. This year’s awareness day theme “Save a Life, it may be your own” speaks to the deadly turn HIV/AIDS has taken in the community. With Latino’s generally testing very late, at times only months away from developing an AIDS diagnosis, the leadership has mobilized the community around an effort to increase testing and prevention efforts.
This effort is consistent with the recommendations of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy which is to focus efforts on communities disproportionately affected by the epidemic. Recently, the Office of National HIV/AIDS Policy (ONAP) convened Latino leaders, including some NLAAD members and Federal partners in the White House to discuss how they are implementing the strategy at the community level (please take a moment to see the video.
Latinos are more likely to contract HIV than Whites. According to the CDC, the rate of new AIDS diagnoses among Latino men is three times that of White men, and the rate among Latinas is five times that of White women. Even though HIV-related mortality has been declining since effective medications have become available, Black and Latino Americans are more likely than White Americans to die earlier from AIDS. In part, this is due to lack of access to treatment. HIV-positive Latinas are less likely to access therapy compared to HIV-positive men; and access to care and supportive services is particularly difficult for HIV-positive persons in emerging communities in rural areas, as well as other underserved communities.
Established in 2003, NLAAD is one of the nation’s largest and broadest reaching community level awareness campaigns focused on by promoting HIV testing opportunities, connecting people to care and enhancing HIV/AIDS awareness among Hispanics. During the Hispanic Heritage month (September 15 – October 15) over 420 NLAAD eventswill be held throughout the United States, the US territories and Puerto Rico.
Please join the ONAP and our network of community-based organizations and service providers in helping raise awareness across the country of the prevention, testing and treatment needs of our Hispanic/Latino community.