Photo: Congressional Hearings held on HIV in latino community
Congressional and Latino community leaders called for enhanced efforts to combat the growing HIV epidemic in their communities and adequate resources to implement the Administration’s new HIV/AIDS Strategy during a Capitol Hill congressional briefing.
The calls came in response to the recent release of the rising HIV infection rates among Latinos/Hispanics. White House HIV/AIDS Strategy, which addresses the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic among communities of color nationwide and in Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia by identifying the most heavily impacted jurisdictions with rising incidences of HIV/AIDS. Hispanic leaders also expressed their fears that, due to ongoing financial crises in jurisdictions with the highest number of Latino HIV and AIDS cases, HIV prevention and treatment programs were suffering devastating cuts.
Soraya Galeas, the Metropolitan Latino AIDS Coalition stated that, “With a disproportionate share of HIV/AIDS cases in Latino communities and Puerto Rico, we must increase our community mobilization to save lives. HIV is preventable.”
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-18th/FL) announced that,
“We need to come together to reaffirm our commitment to increase HIV/AIDS awareness in all Hispanic communities in both Spanish and English. We cannot miss anybody; HIV does not discriminate.”
The Capitol Hill congressional briefing officially kicked off the National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD) events, which are organized annually on October 15th in more than 300 cities and 45 states across the country and territories. NLAAD was established in 2003 to act as a community mobilization catalyst to prevent the spread of HIV infection in Latino communities, to promote HIV testing opportunities, to connect people to care and to activities that raise AIDS awareness and other health conditions impacting Hispanics in national, state and local communities.
The Latino Commission on AIDS, the Metropolitan Latino AIDS Coalition (MLAC), the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD), the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC), the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), the Hispanic Federation, and the National Latino AIDS Action Network (NLAAN) are working together to educate Congress about the impact of HIV/AIDS among Hispanics/Latinos.