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New Book Highlights Latino HIV/AIDS Advocates Who Have Transformed the Epidemic

By Kellee Terrell

October 6, 2011

As we approach National Latino AIDS Awareness Day on Oct. 15, a new book written by Jesus Ramirez-Valles, a University of Illinois at Chicago professor of health sciences, illuminates how gay, bisexual and transgender Latino advocates have fostered HIV/AIDS activism over the past three decades.

Newswise reported that Compañeros: Latino Activists in the Face of AIDS (University of Illinois Press, 2011) gives voice to those whose stories of fighting racism, homophobia and stigma are not often told:

"'Compañeros' tells us what it's like to be an activist, a volunteer, and get involved in community affairs," says Ramirez-Valles. "The book is about Latino gay men and transgender individuals, but it speaks to the broader idea of getting involved in the community -- not only to change major social forces that shape our lives, but to change ourselves, to connect with others, and in the process become better individuals and better citizens."

As a public health researcher, Ramirez-Valles has studied gender and race in health promotion and HIV/AIDS and substance abuse prevention in the United States and Latin America.

"The voices of Latino gay men in the AIDS epidemic have not been heard, and in many instances have been distorted. I felt a responsibility to share them with a larger audience," said Ramirez-Valles, who also produced a documentary, funded by the National Institutes of Health, featuring individuals in his book.

Listen to an interview with Ramirez-Valles here.

Read the table of contents from Compañeros here.

Kellee Terrell is the former news editor for and

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