October 15, 2012
Washington, D.C. -- Today the National Association of People With AIDS (NAPWA) and its CDC-funded SABER community mobilization assistance program salute the observance of National Latino HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD).
Hispanics/Latinos are this country's largest and fastest growing ethnic minority. They are also disproportionately impacted by HIV and AIDS.
The CDC reports that the estimated rate of new infections among Hispanic/Latino men was two and a half times the rate among white men in 2009, and the estimated rate of new infections among Hipsanic/Latina women was four and a half times the rate among white women (CDC, "HIV in the United States: An Overview." The State of Texas reported in 2009, "Data shows that one in three Texans with HIV received a late diagnosis of their infection. A late diagnosis means the person was also diagnosed with AIDS within one year of an HIV diagnosis. This is especially true of Hispanics -- more than two in five Hispanics with HIV received a late diagnosis" (Publication No. 13-13279 [Rev. 10/09]).
"There are many reasons for these disparities," says Mimi Minier, Senior Program Director of SABER. "The reduced access some Hispanics/Latinos have to education and health information leads to pockets of reduced health literacy and HIV awareness. Frank talk about human sexuality may be difficult in some Latino communities (as it is in some white and African American communities). Finding safe, welcoming, culturally appropriate health care is even harder for Hispanics/Latinos than for other Americans. And when we raise the issue of culturally appropriate care, we raise the issue of cultural diversity in America's Hispanics/Latinos. It is immense and must be respected."
All these conditions call for Hispanic/Latino community mobilization, to raise HIV awareness, promote testing, and demand linkage to care and support in care -- safe and culturally appropriate care -- for all who need it.
We congratulate the Latino Commission on AIDS (LCOA) for leading another successful NLAAD. We also congratulate the State of New York Department of Health AIDS Institute for establishing New York State Latino HIV Testing Month and a national model for excellence in providning health care to Hispanic/Latino communities. NAPWA and SABER look forward to working closely with LCOA, the AIDS Institute, and all Hispanic/Latino-oriented public health agencies and HIV advocacy groups to reduce, and someday end the special barriers Hispanics/Latinos face on their way to awareness, testing, and care.