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Press Release

CDC Statement on National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day

October 14, 2016

October 15 is National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day,* a day to act together to eliminate HIV among Hispanics/Latinos in the United States. CDC is pleased to join the Latino Commission on AIDS in support of this year's theme, "We'll Defeat AIDS, con GANAS ('with our wholehearted efforts')."

Despite recent progress in reducing HIV among Hispanic/Latina women, Hispanics/Latinos continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV. In 2014, Hispanics/Latinos accounted for 24% of all HIV diagnoses in the United States and 6 dependent areas, while representing only 17% of the US population. From 2005 to 2014, HIV diagnoses declined 4% among all Hispanics/Latinos, but trends varied among subgroups. For example, diagnoses among young Hispanic/Latino gay and bisexual men (aged 13 to 24) increased 87% over this time period, though the trend has slowed in recent years, increasing 16% from 2010 to 2014. If current trends continue, an estimated 1 in 48 Hispanic/Latino men, including 1 in 4 Hispanic/Latino gay and bisexual men, and 1 in 227 Hispanic/Latina women will be diagnosed with HIV at some point in their lifetime. But we have the prevention and treatment tools to change those rates if we work together.

One of the priorities of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) is to improve outcomes at every step along the continuum of care -- from diagnosis to viral suppression -- for people living with HIV. A recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) suggests a need for expanded HIV testing among Hispanics/Latinos and improved strategies for linking HIV-positive Hispanics/Latinos to care. Among Hispanics/Latinos who received an HIV diagnosis through a CDC-funded testing event in 2014, 61% were linked to medical care within 3 months, well below the NHAS goal at the time of 85%.

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Furthermore, many Hispanics/Latinos in HIV care have unmet needs for ancillary services that could improve their health and help them achieve viral suppression. Another recent MMWR shows, for example, that 15% of Hispanics/Latinos receiving HIV medical care during 2013-2014 had an unmet need for food or nutrition services, and 9% had an unmet need for transportation. Nearly a quarter had an unmet need for dental care. Promoting access to comprehensive medical and supportive services for those in HIV care can help us defeat HIV.

At CDC, we are working to reduce incidence of HIV among Hispanics/Latinos, help eliminate health disparities in HIV care, and improve the health and well-being of those who are living with HIV. For example:

  • Starting in 2012, CDC has awarded at least $330 million each year ($343.7 million in 2015) to health departments to direct resources to the populations and geographic areas of greatest need, including Hispanics/Latinos, and prioritize the HIV prevention strategies that will have the greatest impact.
  • Beginning in 2011, CDC awarded $11 million per year for 5 years to 34 community-based organizations to provide HIV testing to more than 90,000 young gay and bisexual men of color and transgender youth of color with the goals of identifying more than 3,500 previously unrecognized HIV infections and linking those who have HIV to care and prevention services. CDC recently announced a new funding opportunity focused on these populations that will begin in 2017 and continue for 5 years, depending on the availability of funds.
  • Capacity Building Assistance for High-Impact HIV Prevention is a national program that addresses gaps in the HIV continuum of care by providing training and technical assistance for health departments and other organizations.
  • Act Against AIDS is an initiative that focuses on raising awareness about HIV prevention through campaigns and partnerships. For example,
    • Let's Stop HIV Together is a campaign that raises awareness about HIV and its impact on the lives of all Americans, and fights stigma by showing that persons living with HIV are real people.
    • Doing It, a national testing and prevention campaign, encourages all adults to know their HIV status and make HIV testing a part of their regular health routine.
    • Partnering and Communicating Together (PACT) to Act Against AIDS is a partnership with organizations such as the League of United Latin American Citizens and the National Hispanic Medical Association to raise HIV awareness among populations disproportionately affected by HIV, including Hispanic/Latino communities.

Working together, we can protect the health of Hispanic/Latino communities and reduce the spread of HIV among Hispanics/Latinos. As a partner in HIV prevention, you play an important role in this effort, and we look forward to continuing our strong collaboration to achieve an HIV-free generation.

* The term Latinx serves as a gender-neutral alternative to Latino/Latina.

Jonathan H. Mermin, M.D., M.P.H., is director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Eugene McCray, M.D., is the director of the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
 

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