New York City AIDS Awareness Groups Educate Multiple Ethnic Communities Through Testing, Education
December 9, 2004
Several New York City HIV/AIDS advocacy groups are bringing awareness of the disease to different ethnic communities through HIV testing and education activities, Long Island Newsday reports. The Hispanic AIDS Forum recently introduced the city's Latino community to OraSure Technologies' rapid HIV test, which uses oral fluid collected with a treated swab from a person's gums. Many Latinos avoid HIV testing because they are afraid of having blood drawn or because they feel an HIV diagnosis is a "death sentence," HAF spokesperson Miguel Bonilla said. Rosa Regincos, a site director for HAF, said she hopes people will find the OraSure test "less threatening," according to Newsday. "We want to take away the fear of testing," she said. HAF offers confidential HIV testing free-of-charge, risk-education workshops, housing assistance and treatment education. Language also can pose a barrier to HIV/AIDS education, Newsday reports. Yumiko Fukuda, program director for the Asian and Pacific Islander Coalition on HIV/AIDS -- a New York City-based not-for-profit organization that provides services to Asians -- said, "Our job is more complicated because we have to speak so many different languages." Some Asian languages do not have names for male and female genitalia, so counselors must provide basic sex education information because older generations never discussed reproductive health issues with their children, according to Newsday. "It's the same thing in Latino communities," George Fesser, an HAF caseworker, said, adding, "The machismo among Latino men, regardless of sexual affiliation, and religious moral factors contribute to a lack of knowledge." Bonilla and Fukuda said that despite differences in the Latino and Asian cultures, fear of stigma remains the "most common apprehension" about being diagnosed HIV-positive, Newsday reports (Thomas, Long Island Newsday, 12/8).
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.