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National News

Study: AIDS Among Pennsylvania Hispanic Women Nearly Twice National Rate

January 14, 2003

The HIV/AIDS infection rate among Hispanic women in Pennsylvania is nearly twice the national average, in part because the women often feel pressured by their husbands to have unprotected sex, according to a study released Monday.

Research by the Philadelphia AIDS Consortium and other groups attributed the high percentage to a different set of family values as well as cultural attitudes within the state's Hispanic community.

The study was based on surveys sent out to 57 community organizations statewide, asking questions about AIDS, sexual behavior and drug use. The results showed that for every 100,000 Hispanic women ages 13 and older, 25 are infected with the virus, compared with the national rate of 14 per 100,000.

"Bottom-line, what we find is, it's a question of values," said Lawrence J. Hochendoner, executive director of the Philadelphia AIDS Consortium. "We basically found that the issues are ones of self-esteem and empowerment."

Study results indicate Hispanic women often feel pressured to have unprotected sex with their husbands, and are frequently pressured by their husbands to keep quiet about the disease.

CDC reports that 81 percent of AIDS cases in the Hispanic population are in men, but that the proportion of cases among females has been rising. The rate of infection for black women is 43 cases per 100,000 nationally and in Pennsylvania; the rate of HIV/AIDS infection for white women is 2 per 100,000 both in Pennsylvania and nationally.

Karlie Stanton, a spokesperson for CDC's National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention, said the department finds that the frequency of AIDS cases typically depends more on access to health care and education than ethnicity; those factors, however, can correlate with race and ethnicity, she said. "Race and ethnicity are not themselves a risk factor for HIV and AIDS," she said.

In response to the study, the consortium is launching a campaign to inform Hispanic women about AIDS and teach them ways to talk to their husbands about having protected sex.

Back to other CDC news for January 14, 2003

Previous Updates

Adapted from:
Associated Press
01.14.03; Patrick Walters

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.