South Carolina: HIV/AIDS Event Seeks Hispanics
June 30, 2004
South Carolina HIV/AIDS prevention workers, already struggling to reach the young black men and women who account for the state's greatest growth of HIV cases, are now mounting more efforts toward reaching Hispanics. "It is a problem in the Latino community," said Pedro Morales, project coordinator with Palmetto AIDS Life Support (PALS). Language barriers, uncertain legal status and cultural stigma are all impediments to Hispanics getting tested, Morales said, adding that many people do not get tested because of a lack of education, resources and information. Prevention workers canvassed neighborhoods and distributed Spanish-language fliers in Hispanic communities to announce weekend testing in conjunction with National HIV Testing Day, Morales said.Adapted from:
U.S. Census estimates for 2000 showed nearly 100,000 Hispanics living in South Carolina. University of South Carolina researchers estimate 500,000 Hispanics live in the state today, not including those in the country illegally. Hispanic Outreach of South Carolina regularly helps Latinos get medical care, and it assists with housing, educational and job-training needs.
Three percent of the people with new HIV diagnoses in 2004 in the Palmetto Health District -- including Richland, Lexington, Newberry and Fairfield counties -- are Hispanic. Although significantly less than the 78 percent African-American and 19 percent white HIV cases reported, Morales said the number is a concern. "The numbers are growing and the population is growing so we need to do something right now," he noted.
06.26.04; Pat Berman