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U.S. News

California: Using Machismo to Reduce HIV/AIDS

November 8, 2006

While many Latinos are aware of HIV/AIDS, their actual knowledge about how the disease is transmitted or how they can protect themselves is often limited, advocates say.

"Redefining HIV/AIDS for Latinos: A Promising New Paradigm for Addressing HIV/AIDS in the Hispanic Community," a report produced by the Center for Latino Community Health (CLCH), defines and addresses the problem. It found that nationwide, one of every five people with HIV/AIDS is Latino, and that while the proportion of new HIV cases among whites fell 44 percent from 1993 to 2004, new cases among Latinos rose 23 percent over the same period.

According to the Orange County Health Care Agency, Latinos represented 45 percent of the county's AIDS cases last year — a 92 percent increase compared to the proportion of cases among Latinos prior to 2000.

CLCH is a partnership between the National Council of La Raza and California State University-Long Beach. Report author Dr. Britt Rios-Ellis found that factors influencing the rise of HIV/AIDS among Latinos include machismo, stigma and a lack of access to culturally appropriate health care information. Among those she interviewed for the report, machismo was cited as an important barrier in disclosing HIV status to their spouse.

To address this, Rios-Ellis suggests using the traditional definition of machismo as "protector of the family" to encourage Latino males to understand that by speaking about their HIV status, they are actually protecting their families. "By focusing on the man's traditional obligations to protect his family, this new paradigm could also use machismo as a key, rather than a barrier, to redefine gender roles in the context of HIV prevention," she said.

Back to other news for November 8, 2006

Adapted from:
Orange County Register
11.07.2006; Yvette Cabrera

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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.
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