Photo: National Latino AIDS Awareness Day
October 15 is National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD). This year’s theme is “Hispanics United to End AIDS.” Latinos are encouraged to support HIV testing and HIV prevention education, which can save lives.
The HIV epidemic continues to seriously affect Hispanic/Latino communities. Consider this:
• Hispanics/Latinos represent approximately 16% of the U.S. population, but accounted for 20% of new HIV infections in 2009, the most recent year these data were available.
• Hispanics/Latinos accounted for 19% of people living with HIV infection in 2009.
• Since the epidemic began, almost 18,000 Hispanics/Latinos with AIDS have died in the United States and its dependent areas. In 2009, nearly 3,300 Hispanic/Latino individuals with AIDS died.
Among Hispanics/Latinos, gay and bisexual men are most affected by HIV, accounting for 64% of the 9,400 new HIV infections among Latinos in 2009.
The impact of HIV on Hispanics/Latinos is not directly related to race or ethnicity, but rather to harsh realities and challenges faced by some communities, including lower awareness of HIV status, poverty, access to care, stigma, migration, acculturation (the process of adopting the cultural traits or social patterns of another group) and homophobia.
The Latino Commission on AIDS and the Hispanic Federation, in partnership with faith and community organizations, initiated NLAAD in 2003 to raise awareness of issues concerning HIV and AIDS within the Hispanic/Latino population living in the United States and abroad.