The Health Department Response to HIV in Latino Communities

By Daniel Olavarria, Associate, Health Equity

National Latino AIDS Awareness DayNASTAD is proud to observe National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD). Established in 2003, NLAAD is dedicated to drawing attention to the impact of HIV/AIDS on the growing Latino communities across the United States, including Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. The 2013 theme is “Commit to Speak”/“Comprométete a Hablar”. Every October 15th, partners across the United States raise their collective voice to promote HIV/AIDS education, prevention, testing, treatment, and overall awareness for Latino communities.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the HIV infection rate among Latinos in 2009 was nearly three times as high as that of whites. The disproportionate impact of HIV/AIDS on Latinos, combined with the exponential growth of Latino populations in the United States, affirm how essential it is to address the epidemic within this community if we hope to achieve an AIDS-free generation.

NASTAD continues to work towards achieving health equity for Latinos. Most recently, NASTAD released “CONCEPTS: A Health Department Response to the HIV, STD and Viral Hepatitis Epidemics Among Gay Men/MSM in the United States.” “CONCEPTS” is a collection of activities that state health departments are currently implementing to meet the public health challenges facing gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM), including Latino gay men/MSM.

Additionally, in 2011, NASTAD released “A Través de Nuestros Ojos (Through Our Eyes): Promoting Health and Social Equity to Address HIV/AIDS among Latino Gay Men.” This document continues to provide invaluable insight into the challenges and opportunities related to addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic among Latino communities.

NASTAD continues to provide actionable information aimed at addressing the needs of the Latino community to its member state health departments via webinars and other technical assistance.

For additional NASTAD resources geared toward the Latino/Hispanic community, please click here.

To learn more about National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD) and events in your area, visit www.NLAAD.org.