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Taking a Stand on Caribbean-American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

The effects of HIV on the Caribbean Diaspora and Caribbean-American communities in the U.S. are devastating. Just like other diverse communities, health disparities— including diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and HIV/AIDS— as well as access to health care are prevalent in this population. Given that the U.S. Caribbean-American population is also underrepresented in national data and statistics as many are grouped under the African-American demographic, it is important to commemorate yearly events such as the National Caribbean-American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NCAHAAD) to promote health education, engagement, and HIV testing among diverse communities.

Every year on June 8, Caribbean-American leaders across the country sponsor an array of activities to promote HIV/AIDS awareness, as well as draw national attention to the health status of Caribbean-Americans in the U.S. In 2008, Caribbean-Americans represented about 240,000 of the people in the U.S. living with HIV and approximately 20,000 new infections every year. As data indicates that older Americans, especially those from diverse communities, are increasingly at risk for HIV infection, it is imperative that the HIV/AIDS prevention and education messages promoted on NCAHAAD and similar awareness days include and reflect this key population.

How We Can Get Involved

There are several ways we can contribute to sharing this important message within all our communities because HIV is an equal opportunity disease that can affect anyone, at any time and any age:

  1. Use intergenerational relationships to talk HIV

Through NHCOA’s work as a partner of the Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative, we know that many Latino seniors are open to dialoguing with younger generations. (Some even opened up and shared their advice on video.) Leveraging the close relationships many older adults have with their kin, especially grandchildren, is key to eliminating stigma and shame, as well as encourage talking about HIV.

  1. Get tested and encourage others to do as well

If you are sexually active, the only way to know your HIV status is to get tested. This is especially important for older Americans who think they can’t get infected with HIV because of their age. There are many clinics that offer free testing, and recipients of Medicare Original also are entitled to free HIV testing every 12 months as part of their covered tests and screenings.

  1. Get involved with organizations and leaders who promote HIV health education and prevention

Galvanizing the community around issues that impact their health and well-being is a crucial part of ensuring that every person has access to the information and resources they need to make informed health decisions.

  1. Encourage loved ones to get treated if they are HIV positive

HIV awareness isn’t just about preventing the infection, but also supporting and encouraging those who are HIV-positive. Patients who regularly and consistently receive treatment and care can lead longer, healthier lives, managing HIV as a chronic condition. The key is to enter treatment and care— and stick to it— as soon as a person knows they are HIV-positive to reduce the chance of developing AIDS, as well as spreading the infection to others.

  1. Get social and spread the word

Start and engage in conversations through your social media networks to spread awareness using the hashtags #NCAHAAD and #caribaidsday.










Speaking Up on National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

nwghaad-logo-ribbonCurrently, about one in four people living with HIV in the United States are women ages 13 and older.  Of these, roughly half of the women living with HIV are in care, and only 4 in 10 have the virus under control

On March 10, we observe an annual nationwide event called National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day to talk, and raise awareness about, the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls throughout the country, especially older women who face increasing risk of HIV.

While many milestones have been achieved in terms of HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment, there are still too many women in the U.S. who are affected by the disease. They are mothers, sisters, teammates, colleagues, caregivers, and friends. There are also many women who don’t have HIV or AIDS, but carry the burden of the disease as a caregiver and provider for a loved one.

We need to shed light on their stories and experiences so we can reduce the stigma and encourage our communities and families to take action, whether it’s getting informed, getting tested, or spreading the word to others.

Use your social networks to get involved

  • Share this video with advice from Latina older adults:


  • Pin these memes:

Follow NHCOA’s board National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on Pinterest

      • Post a picture wearing red with the hashtag #Redon10
  • Repost these word clouds on Facebook:




  • Tweet about National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day with the hashtag #NWGHAAD


Additional Resources

CDC’s One Conversation campaign (English)

CDC’s One Conversation campaign (Spanish)

HIV Among Women fact sheet (CDC)

National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day fact sheet (English)

National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day fact sheet (Spanish)

NWGHAAD website (Spanish)

New Year, New Goals: Let’s Talk HIV with our Friends and Families

For many of us the New Year means a renewed focus on improving different aspects of our lives, including our health.

CDC One Conversation at a Time Campaign web banner. Image of two young Latinos, a boy and a girl, and two speech bubbles, each with a message about the importance of having HIV conversations.

While healthy eating and regular exercise are key factors in maintaining one’s health, being aware of, and understanding certain health risks are equally as important.

As you may know, Latinos face many disproportionate health inequities, which is why getting informed and spreading the word is even more vital to the health and well-being of the entire community.

For the past several years, NHCOA has been partnering with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to bring HIV/AIDS information, education, and outreach to the most vulnerable and most affected populations, which includes the Hispanic community. As an Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative partner, NHCOA works with local community-based organizations, lay health educators, as well as other members of our Hispanic Aging Network to eliminate stigmas and encourage open, informed conversations about HIV/AIDS.

One of the tools the CDC has created to further this goal is the We Can Stop HIV One Conversation at a Time bilingual campaign, which was specifically designed for the Latino community.

It may not be easy to talk about HIV/AIDS, but having conversations about it is one of the best ways we can protect our families and community. Currently, more than 20% of the new HIV infections in the United States each year are among Hispanics. Imagine how many of those new infections could be avoided if we made a point of speaking up in our homes, workplaces, and places of worship. Imagine how many more people would feel supported and empowered to seek medical attention because they HIV status isn’t a cause of fear, shame or embarrassment. Imagine how many more people would be empowered to make informed decisions regarding their health and their bodies.

To learn more about the CDC’s We Can Stop HIV One Conversation at a Time campaign in English, click here. Campaign materials and information are also available in Spanish here

Día Cinco: Hablemos del VIH, una conversación a la vez

En los próximos 12 días estaremos compartiendo escritos diarios para motivarles a pensar en la salud y el bienestar suyos, de sus padres y abuelos y de toda la familia durante en las fiestas de fin de año. Algunos escritos ofrecerán consejos cortos, mientras que otros llamarán a la reflexión. Esperamos que estas palabras lo inspiren y que las comparta con sus amigos, vecinos y seres queridos.

12 Dias-26

La salud es un aspecto necesario e importante de nuestras vidas. Sin la salud, nos enfrentaríamos a consecuencias desagradables que afectarían tanto a nuestra persona como a nuestras familias. Sin embargo, hay medidas que podemos tomar para cuidar de nuestra salud y la de nuestros familiares y cuidadores. Un paso que podemos tomar es promover una comunicación abierta para hablar de temas relacionados a la salud que pueden ser difíciles de abordar, como el VIH/SIDA.

La realidad es que en los Estados Unidos, más de un millón de personas están contagiadas con VIH/SIDA, de los cuales aproximadamente el 20% son hispanos. Y, cada año, los latinos representan el 21% de los nuevos casos de infección, cifra que incluye a los adultos mayores hispanos. Por esto, se require de más comunicación y alcance comunitario basada en las relaciones personalizadas que caracterizan a nuestra comunidad.

Es por esto que los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC, por sus siglas en inglés) recientemente lanzó la campaña bilingüe “Una Conversación a la Vez” que promueve un diálogo abierto sobre el VIH/SIDA entre amigos, familiares y vecinos ya que el VIH puede afectar a cualquier persona sin importar su edad, género, orientación sexual o estado civil. Por eso, todos podemos aportar nuestro grano de arena en la lucha contra el VIH/SIDA.

En esta temporada navideña nos ofrece la oportunidad perfecta para hablar sobre el VIH con sus seres queridos— qué es el VIH, cómo se propaga y cómo prevenirlo. También es una buena oportunidad para acercarse a nuestros conocidos que estén infectados para asegurar que reciban tratamientos y cuidados médicos adecuados y continuos.

Puede ver los recursos de la campaña Una Conversación a la Vez de los CDC aquí.

Comparta estos gráficos:

Una Conversacion

Vea y comparta este video:

YT Video

NHCOA es uno de tres aliados hispanos de la iniciativa Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative (AAALI) de los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC, por sus siglas en inglés) mediante el cual informamos e involucramos a miembros de nuestra red hispana para empezar un diálogo constructivo sobre el VIH, reducir el estigma en la comunidad hispana y concientizar sobre la prevención del VIH. 

Day Five: Let’s talk HIV, one conversation at a time

Over the next 12 days, we will be sharing daily posts to motivate you to think about your health and well-being during the holiday season. Some posts will focus on handy tips, while others will offer a reflexion. We hope these words will inspire you and we invite you to share them with friends, neighbors and family. 

12 Dias-25

Health is an important and necessary aspect of our lives. Without it, we can face many unpleasant consequences, which affects both patients and families. The good news is there are many things we can do to protect our health and keep our families and caregivers healthy. One of the things we can do is create open channels of communication to talk about health issues that we tend to shy away from, such as HIV/AIDS.

The reality is that in the United States, more than 1 million people are infected with HIV/AIDS, of which approximately 20% are Hispanic. Latinos also represent almost 21% of the new HIV infections each year, which includes Hispanic older adults. This why increased education and outreach is needed in our community, and one of the best ways to talk HIV is with trusted friends and family.

That is why the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently launched the “One Conversation at a Time” campaign, which is a national bilingual campaign that encourages Latinos across the country to talk openly about HIV/SIDA within their spheres of trust— families, friends, and communities — because HIV can affect any person, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation or civil status. Therefore, we all have a role to play when it comes to preventing HIV.

This holiday season provides a perfect opportunity to talk about HIV with your loved ones — what it is, how it is spread, and how to prevent it. It is also a good opportunity to approach those who are infected and make sure they are receiving proper and continuous medical care and treatment.

Gain access to helpful tools and resources from the CDC’s One Conversation at a Time campaign here.

Share these social media graphics:

One Conversation

Watch and share this video:

YT Video


NHCOA is one of three national Hispanic/Latino partners of the CDC’s Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative (AAALI), a national effort to inform Hispanic older adults, their families, and caregivers about HIV/AIDS as well encourage them to talk HIV in their communities and with their loved ones. For more information, please visit

NHCOA President & CEO Encourages Action on World AIDS Day


This year’s theme is “Focus. Partner. Achieve: An AIDS-Free Generation”


Washington, DC- Dr. Yanira Cruz, President and CEO of the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA)– the leading national organization working to improve the lives of Hispanic older adults, their families, and caregivers– released the following statement in commemoration of World AIDS Day, which is observed every year on December 1st:


“Since the first cases of HIV/AIDS were reported more than 30 years ago, approximately 25 million people have lost their battle to HIV. While significant medical advances have controlled HIV to the point where those who receive appropriate and continuous treatment can enjoy a long life and may never experience the devastation of AIDS, there is still more work to be done to achieve an AIDS-free generation.


“HIV thrives on silence and misinformation, which is why everyone has a role to play in the fight against HIV/AIDS, especially Hispanic older adults, their families, and caregivers. It is estimated that in the U.S. there are 50,000 new HIV infections each year. And, increasingly there are more older Americans who are getting infected, who may or may not be aware of their HIV status.


“Today on World AIDS Day, we join the rest of the globe in remembering those who have lost their fight to AIDS, as well as those approximately 34 million people who are living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. As a proud member of the CDC’s Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative, we also encourage our partners and leaders to act against AIDS. Let’s focus on ensuring that all patients who enter and remain in medical care can manage their condition like a chronic illness, as well as partnering with community leaders and advocates to increase HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention throughout the country. Working together and sharing the best of our talents, we can achieve an AIDS-free generation.”




NHCOA Encourages Everyone to “Focus, Partner, and Achieve” AIDS-Free Generation on World AIDS Day

world AIDS DayEach year World AIDS Day (WAD) is observed on December 1 to unite the world in the fight against HIV/AIDS, show support for those living with HIV/AIDS and commemorate those who have lost the battle to AIDS.

As a proud partner of the CDC’s Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative, NHCOA encourages all our partners, NHCOA leaders, Hispanic older adults, family members, and caregivers to use World AIDS Day as a platform to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS in their communities and around the world. We have developed these materials to assist in your outreach efforts.  

More than 25 million people have died of AIDS worldwide, but today more and more people are able to manage HIV/AIDS as a chronic disease. 

While unprecedented advances in medical treatment have been made, there is still much work to be done to achieve an AIDS-free generation. More than 1 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV, and Hispanics continue to be disproportionately affected.

HIV/AIDS doesn’t just affect the health of those infected with the disease– it impacts families, communities, and the development and economic growth of nations. Many of the countries hardest hit by HIV also suffer from other infection diseases, food insecurity and other serious issues.

This is why we must not limit talking about HIV/AIDS on World AIDS Day or other HIV/AIDS commemorative dates.

NHCOA, alongside our Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative partners, leverage our community connections to conduct outreach and education efforts among our key audiences. As a valued member of the NHCOA familia, we ask that you take action on December 1, whether it be starting a conversation with a loved, attending a local WAD event, or sharing information with your social media networks.

We must work together to act against AIDS if we want to achieve the goal of an AIDS-free generation.

World Hepatitis Day 2014: Think Again

WHD_2013_Campaign_posterEach year on July 28th people from around the world come together to honor World Hepatitis Day – an annual observance established to raise awareness of viral hepatitis and its impact. Viral hepatitis is a silent epidemic, remaining largely unknown to the general public despite its status as one of the top ten infectious disease killers in the world. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in 12 people, or about 500 million people, have chronic viral hepatitis worldwide. Furthermore, most people who are infected do not know they have it since many people do not show symptoms for years.

In the U.S. there are three major types of viral hepatitis – Hepatitis A (HAV), B (HBV) and C (HCV):

  • Hepatitis A, which is usually spread through ingestion of food, drinks or objects that are contaminated by fecal matter.
  • Hepatitis B, which is transmitted through contact with the blood or other body fluids (i.e. saliva, semen and vaginal fluid) of an infected person.
  • Hepatitis C, which is mainly spread through blood-to-blood contact. After progressing, hepatitis viruses may cause inflammation of the liver, cirrhosis and liver cancer.

While viral hepatitis is devastating to all those it impacts, it is particularly pervasive in Hispanics and older adults. According to the Office of Minority Health, Hispanics had the second highest rate of Hepatitis among all ethnic groups in 2010. Compared to non-Hispanic Whites, Hispanics are two times more likely to be diagnosed with Hepatitis A and twice as likely to die from viral hepatitis. Additionally, Hispanics ages 40 and over are 30% more likely to acquire Hepatitis B in comparison to their non-Hispanic White peers. Regardless of racial/ethnic background, older adults are also at a higher risk of being infected with viral hepatitis. As a result, the CDC recommends that all Americans born from 1945-1965 get tested for Hepatitis C, since this age group is five times more likely to have the virus than other groups.

Significantly, individuals with viral hepatitis may have a high risk of acquiring HIV as a co-infection or developing cancer. Hepatitis B and C are transmitted the same way as HIV – through unprotected sexual contact, injection drug use and high risk tattooing. As a result, about one-third of people living with HIV are often co-infected with either Hepatitis B or C. For those who are co-infected, viral hepatitis progresses faster and causes more liver-related health problems, due to the weakened immune system caused by HIV. Additionally, liver disease, related to Hepatitis B and C, has become the leading cause of non-AIDS-related deaths in people with HIV. Furthermore, chronic Hepatitis B and C can lead to liver cancer. As a result, approximately 15,000 Americans die each year from liver cancer or chronic liver disease associated with viral hepatitis.

While viral hepatitis is serious, it can be prevented by taking certain precautions, including preventative vaccines for Hepatitis A and B. Additional precautions include using condoms during sexual intercourse, wearing gloves when handling body fluids, avoiding contaminated water and food, and avoiding used needles and sharing certain personal items such as razors or toothbrushes.

On this year’s World Hepatitis Day, the National Hispanic Council on Aging encourages everyone to break the silence surrounding viral hepatitis. Use this day to get tested, seek treatment and educate yourself, your loved ones and community. For more information about viral hepatitis and World Hepatitis Day, please click here.

Join Alicia Keys for the “We Are Empowered” Watch Party

The National  Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) and the Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative invite you to join Alicia Keys for a “We Are Empowered” National Watch Party and Discussion about women and HIV/AIDS on Sunday, January 19 from 8-9 p.m. EST. “We Are Empowered” is an intimate and revealing half hour conversation Alicia had with five women living with HIV in the U.S. that will inspire and inform.

We encourage you to get involved in this important conversation by hosting a watch party. Gather your friends and family to watch the “We Are Empowered” video on the Greater Than AIDS website or As you watch, use the discussion guide to foster conversation among your group and share your thoughts with Alicia on Twitter at #WeAreEmpowered.

Whether HIV positive or negative, we all have a role to play in the fight against AIDS. For additional information about the “We Are Empowered” watch party, please visit the Greater Than AIDS site at

Since 2011 NHCOA has been one of three national Hispanic/Latino partners of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative, a multi-year national communication initiative to reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS among diverse communities. NHCOA uses community outreach and communication efforts to reach and inform Latino senior, their families, and caregivers about HIV/AIDS, as well encourage them to talk HIV in their communities and with loved ones.

What is the Difference Between HIV and AIDS?

The National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) is proud to be one of three Latino organizations in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative (AAALI). AAALI is a multi-year national communication initiative to reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS among diverse communities. NHCOA uses community outreach and communication efforts to reach and inform Latino senior, their families, and caregivers about HIV/AIDS, as well encourage them to talk HIV in their communities and with loved ones.

In our conversations and efforts about this issue, HIV and AIDS are often referenced together and by their abbreviations. However, HIV and AIDS are not the same. So, what exactly is the difference?

According to the CDC, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, commonly known as HIV, is a virus that infects humans and weakens the immune system by destroying important cells that fight disease and infection. HIV differs from other viruses because over time the immune system can fight and clear most viruses. However, this isn’t the case with HIV yet. Scientists are still trying to figure out why the human immune system can’t clear HIV once infected.

Over time, HIV can destroy so many of your T-cells – the cells that fight infections and diseases, which are cells that the body requires to fight infections and disease. As a result, HIV can lead to AIDS

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, commonly known as AIDS, is the final stage of HIV infection. At this stage, the immune systems – which includes all the organs and cells that fight disease – is deficient, or no longer working properly.  Rather than a disease, AIDS is classified as a syndrome, which is a collection of symptoms and signs of disease, because it is a complex illness with a wide range of complications and symptoms.

In order to be diagnosed with AIDS, one must have one or more specific opportunistic infections, certain cancers or a very low number of T-cells. Individuals with AIDS must have medical treatment to prevent death.