Study: Latino HIV Silence a Grave Concern
October 30, 2007
Illinois Latinos have disproportionate HIV/AIDS rates, according to a new report that calls for immediate attention to the problem. The study was presented by the Greater Humboldt Park Community of Wellness (GHPCW) coalition on Oct. 15, National Latino AIDS Awareness Day. It outlines several key steps for expanding advocacy.
Latinos have made up 13 percent of all newly reported HIV cases in Illinois for the past three years, the state Department of Public Health reports. In addition, Latinos with HIV/AIDS are dying at higher rates: In 2006, they represented 12 percent of HIV/AIDS-related deaths in the state, an increase from 8 percent in 2005.
According to the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), Latinos are 45 percent more likely than whites to have already progressed to AIDS when they first test positive for HIV. Of the 40 percent of HIV-positive Latinos who progress to AIDS within five years of diagnosis, most do so within one month.
Nanette Benbow, CDPH's director of surveillance, epidemiology and research, called HIV/AIDS' impact on Latinos an "epidemic of grave concern."
Joanne Montes of CALOR, which serves disabled Latinos, said the first step for Latinos is to begin a dialogue about the disease and its effects: "We know HIV is here; we know AIDS exists, but we're choosing to ignore it."
Miguel Palacio, associate director of Association House and co-chair of the Community of Wellness, agreed. "The continued inattention to HIV/AIDS in our community is unacceptable," he said.
The next step is supporting and enhancing community-based groups, attendees said, noting that long-term funding must be secured to support them.
Windy City Times
10.24.2007; Amy Wooten
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.