Fourth Annual National Latino AIDS Awareness Day Focuses on HIV/AIDS Education, Testing
October 16, 2006
HIV/AIDS advocacy groups and government officials on Sunday sought to increase awareness of the epidemic among Latinos on the fourth annual National Latino AIDS Awareness Day, the San Mateo County Times reports. The Latino Commission on AIDS and the Hispanic Federation launched the first Latino AIDS awareness day in 2003 with the hope of boosting awareness and the response to the epidemic, according to the Times. The 2006 theme was "Saber es poder," or "Knowledge is power" (Economides, San Mateo County Times, 10/15). According to National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci, AIDS-related illnesses among Latinos ages 35 to 44 are the third-leading cause of death among Latino men and the fourth-leading cause among Latinas, but a NIAID survey found that 11% of Latinos said HIV/AIDS is the most urgent current health issue. Fauci in a statement said the NIAID Vaccine Research Education Initiative, the agency's HIV Vaccine Trials Network and community-based groups are partnering in an attempt to boost HIV vaccine awareness and education among Latinos and other groups, adding, "Collectively, we must do more to ensure that Latinos are educated about both prevention and treatment clinical trials so they can make HIV/AIDS research relevant to their community" (NIAID release, 10/11). In an effort to boost HIV testing among Latinos, OraSure Technologies donated 5,000 OraQuck Advance Rapid HIV-1/2 Antibody Tests, which produce results in 20 minutes, to more than 60 sites and events on Sunday. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus and LCA assisted OraSure in providing the tests, training and support to the sites and events (OraSure release, 10/12). In Newport News, Va., a no-cost HIV testing event held by the Tidewater AIDS Community Task Force included a translator and public health workers in an attempt to overcome potential language barriers and foster dialogue about testing and prevention, Shawn Cook, the group's director of education, said (Freehling, Newport News Daily Press, 10/12).
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