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National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD): Ending HIV is Everyone's Job

Hispanics/Latinos in the United States (US) are disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS. They represent 18% of the US population yet accounted for almost 1 in 4 (24%) infections among adults and adolescents in 2015. Factors such as lack of health insurance, language barriers, lack of familiarity with the US healthcare system and stigma often limit the health care access of Hispanics/Latinos in the US, thereby limiting opportunities for HIV/AIDS screening and treatment. Given that Hispanics/Latinos are the largest and fastest growing minority group in the US, addressing HIV/AIDS in our community is important to the nation’s health.

Latino MSM have experienced high rates of HIV infection since the beginning of the epidemic. While HIV Diagnoses rates have decreased among white non-Hispanic MSM and stabilized among African-American MSM, we’ve seen an increase in new HIV diagnoses among Latino MSM across all ages nationally. About 2 out of 3 Hispanic/Latino gay and bisexual men who received a diagnosis were aged 13-34.

Numerous factors contribute to these disparities. Some Latinx are hesitant to seek testing or treatment due to the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS. Other Latinx immigrants may be afraid of disclosing their immigration status when seeking health services or seeking any form of public assistance because of their immigration status. Also, poverty, limited access to health care and health insurance, homophobia, transphobia, and language barriers can limit awareness about resources for HIV testing, prevention, treatment and care.

On October 15th we recognize National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD), an important community mobilization and social messaging campaign that brings together Hispanic/Latinx communities, Hispanic/Latinx service providers and organizations providing services to Hispanic/Latinx communities throughout the U.S. and territories under one theme. This year's theme, "Ending HIV is Everyone's Job", focuses on the tools available to address HIV in our communities. 

When Latino Commission on AIDS founded NLAAD in 2003, we chose October 15 because it marks the last day of Hispanic Heritage month. As Latinx, it’s important that we celebrate our heritage, and part of that celebration involves being proactive about the health issues that affect our community, like HIV.

This year’s campaign seeks to present information in a direct and powerful manner. Today we have the tools necessary to address the HIV epidemic in our community. In fact, 9 in 10 new HIV infections in the U.S. could be prevented through early diagnosis, testing, and engagement in care. 

We must ensure that Latinx are tested for HIV as it is the gateway to care for those who are positive, and the gateway to access PrEP for those who are negative.

We invite everyone to get involved with NLAAD by:

Posted By: Luis Scaccabarrozzi, Vice President, Latino Commission on AIDS - Thursday, October 11, 2018

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