Arizona: Latino AIDS Cases on Rise in County
October 15, 2007
The most recent figures from the Arizona Department of Health Services show that Latinos in Pima County accounted for 33.6 percent of newly diagnosed HIV/AIDS cases in 2005. Carlos Torres of the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation expressed concern that more Latinos are testing positive for the virus, but said it may be due to more people being willing to get tested and being willing to get tested earlier.
"We couldn't address [HIV/AIDS in the past] without addressing other health issues at the same time," said Stephen Trujillo of the El Rio Special Immunology Center. Now, he said, "the Latino community is becoming more accepting of talking about diseases, not only AIDS, but others."
Trujillo led a 2000 study on HIV/AIDS along the US-Mexico border that found Latinos were reluctant to be tested. At the time of diagnosis, 50 percent of those with HIV had already progressed to AIDS. He said stigma and misinformation about HIV's progression contributed to the lack of testing. The study also found an increase in Latino women with AIDS who had no risk factor besides their significant other.
"People for the most part are educated about HIV transmission, but it depends on their situation if they can incorporate those prevention practices in their lifestyle," Trujillo said.
Today, during the fifth annual Latino HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, free, confidential testing will be offered at the El Rio Neighborhood Center, 1390 Speedway Boulevard, 4-8 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation, El Rio Community Health Center, and others. In addition to testing by the Pima County Health Department, the event features dinner, education classes in Spanish and English, and an information fair.
10.13.2007; Heidi Rowley
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.