Local and Community News
Florida: Spike in HIV, AIDS Cases Among Hispanic Youth Called Alarming
April 29, 2003
Officials are worried about a rise in HIV/AIDS cases among Hispanic youth, especially in the Town 'N Country community of Tampa, Fla., home to roughly 40,000 Hispanics. Of 187 HIV cases among Hispanics in Hillsborough County, 31 are in Town 'N Country ZIP codes, according to Alayne Unterberger, executive director of Florida Institute for Community Studies Inc., a local multilingual research agency.
In a south Hillsborough County study area, which is 48 percent Hispanic, there were four HIV and eight AIDS cases among the Hispanic population. An east Hillsborough site, which is 17 percent Hispanic, had nine HIV and seven AIDS cases. Unterberger said she did not start her research by looking at Hispanics, but instead looked at HIV data compiled by the state Health Department by ZIP code -- that led to a focus on Hispanics.
Unterberger said when she studied Town 'N Country ZIP codes, she discovered the HIV/AIDS cases among Hispanics were about five times greater than in other parts of the county. Proyecto Prevencion (Project Prevention) was created as a result of her findings, a program aimed at reducing HIV risk and substance abuse within the Hispanic communities of unincorporated Hillsborough County.
The campaign has brought together several agencies, including the Love Hope Foundation, Beth El Farmworker Mission and Tampa Bay AIDS Network. Proyecto Prevencion targets three pocket areas with the largest Latino populations, including Mexican farmworkers and Central and South Americans. Ramon Martinez handles some of the project work by interviewing teens, with parental consent. "It has to be Latino kids and we usually go to parks or after-school programs," Martinez said. At a recent Town 'N Country meeting, the problem of unsupervised children came up, a situation most often the result of both parents working, sometimes two or three jobs. "It's not cool for kids to go to the park when they're 15," Unterberger said. "They need a teen center program."
St. Petersburg Times
04.27.03; Jackie Ripley
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.