October 15, 2012
HIV/AIDS is a significant health threat to Hispanic communities in the United States, affecting every segment of the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that Hispanics and Latinos progress to AIDS faster than any other racial or ethnic group, with 42 percent being diagnosed with AIDS within 12 months after learning of their positive HIV status, compared to 34 percent late diagnosis among white non-Hispanics and 35 percent among blacks.
The global and national implications of HIV/AIDS prevalence in Hispanics and Latinos are well known, but as the U.S. HIV/AIDS strategy reminds all, first and foremost -- it is a local problem. The writer, President Guillermo Chacon of the Latino Commission on AIDS, is a member of the Hispanic/Latino community in Miami, Florida. There are approximately 25,711 people with HIV/AIDS in Miami, and of that total number, approximately 39.7 percent are Hispanic/Latino.
National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD) is a perfect opportunity to encourage Hispanics and Latinos to learn more about HIV/AIDS and get tested to find out their status. The good news is that individuals now have access to a rapid in-home HIV test, and there are many other places to get tested, including hospitals, clinics, community-based organizations, and physicians' offices. By educating people early about protecting themselves -- and helping them learn their status earlier -- the United States can reduce the number of AIDS-related deaths and connect those who are infected to medical care sooner. Call 1-866-436-6527 or visit www.nlaad.org to learn more about rapid in-home testing.