Growing AIDS Epidemic in Latino Community

AIDS Action DayNew York City’s immigrant community is suffering from a rise in AIDS cases. New York, which saw a 4 percent rise in AIDS cases among foreign-born Latinos in three years, to 31 percent, is not alone in dealing with a growing crisis in the Latino community.
Hispanics represent just 16 percent of the U.S. population yet account for 20 percent of total new HIV infections, FoxNewsLatino reported. According to a recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Hispanics have the highest rate of new AIDS cases in the country.
Health officials say Latinos are not getting tested, “Latinos are more likely to get tested for HIV at later stages of infection, when compared to any other population,” Tony Ochoa, the program manager for the National Latino AIDS Awareness Day, told Fox News Latino.
In order to alleviate this growing health crisis, there needs to be greater awareness about HIV/AIDS among the Latino community. While African Americans are still the largest group affected by HIV/AIDS, cultural stigmas often prevent Latinos from making their sexual health a priority.
Daniel Leyva, senior director of the Latino Commission on AIDS, said those factors include fear of discrimination, stigmatization, and for undocumented immigrants, fear of deportation.
FoxNewsLatino reported that “10 states account for over 80 percent of the new AIDS diagnoses among Latinos. Apart from California and Puerto Rico, almost all of the new cases are on the East Coast.”
Rocio Ruiz, prevention director for the Hyacinth AIDS Foundation in New Jersey, advocates that developing culturally relevant “community awareness programs,” and combining them with a more open community dialogue, can greatly reduce this public health crisis.

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