To end AIDS, commit to act.
This is the theme for the 11th annual National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD), which is observed yearly on October 15 at the end of Hispanic Heritage Month.
This awareness day was created in response to the impact of HIV/AIDS on the U.S. Latino community, including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and this year the call action is centered around three main messages:
Get the Facts About HIV
Myths, stigma, and lack of targeted education makes Latinos less aware of how to protect themselves from the virus. This is concerning because Hispanics are disproportionately affected by HIV: Latinos represent 16% of the U.S. population and 21% of all new HIV infections.
Get Tested for HIV
1 in 6 people living with HIV in the U.S. do not know they are infected, which contributes to the rates of new infections. Further, studies show that one in 36 Latino men and one in 106 Latina women will be diagnosed with HIV at some point in life.
Get Into and Stay in Medical Care if you are HIV+
The best way to fight against HIV if you are infected is to get into what is called the HIV care continuum or treatment cascade— a model that agencies at every level use to identify issues and opportunities related to improving the delivery of services to HIV+ positive patients who are receiving treatment.
“HIV is a serious matter for the entire country, especially the Hispanic community, which is disproportionately affected. That is why NHCOA committed to doing our part in ending AIDS. Through our work with the CDC’s Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative, we are helping to reduce the rates of HIV in hard-to-reach and diverse communities,” said Dr. Yanira Cruz, NHCOA President and CEO.
“While our focus is on the Latino senior population, we cannot begin to address the issue of HIV without looking at the big picture: Hispanic older adults’ families and caregivers. This intergenerational approach allows us to understand what the most effective practices and strategies are when it comes to reaching hard-to-reach seniors, as well as promote cross generational dialogue and education.”
“Specifically, we leverage the strong connections, leadership, and influence Latino seniors have within their families, communities, and places of worship and leisure by offering culturally and linguistically appropriate outreach and education focused on intergenerational storytelling and dialogue to break the silence and eliminate the stigma.”
What you can do on National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD)
Get the Facts. Start a conversation at home, or with a loved one, on HIV/AIDS.
Get Tested. If you are sexually active, ask your healthcare provider for an HIV test during annual check ups. [Under the ACA, most new health insurance plans must cover certain recommended preventive services, including HIV testing.]
Join the Conversation. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #NLAAD to be part of the ongoing conversation. [Need some more information? Check out our 2014 NLAAD materials for inspiration.]