Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
Latino Gay and Lesbian Leaders Demand $3M in AIDS Funding Targeting New York’s Minority Gay Males
Latino gay and lesbian leaders on Wednesday held an "unprecedented" press conference to "deman[d]" that the New York City and State Departments of Health provide an additional $3 million to fund AIDS prevention programs targeted at "gay people of color communities" in the city, citing recent statistics indicating higher HIV infection rates among gay minorities. "Today's press conference is a direct response to recent
studies released by the CDC that show extremely high rates of HIV infection among Latino gay and bisexual men (15%) when compared with the white gay male population (2%)," Andres Duque, coordinator of Mano a Mano, a network of Latino gay, bisexual and transgender organizations and individuals, said. "It also follows additional calls for action made recently by the New York State Black Gay Men's Network," Duque added (Latino Commission on AIDS release, 2/21). While Latinos account for only 12% of New York state's population, they represent 31% of the state's AIDS cases (Taylor, Newsday, 2/22). New York City Department of Health figures show that as of June 2000, Latinos made up 25% of all AIDS cases among the city's gay men, indicating a more than 35% increase in the number of AIDS cases among Latino gay men since 1995. And 30% of American Latinos with AIDS live in New York, while only 9% of the U.S. Latino population resides there, according to the Latino Commission on AIDS. Heriberto Sanchez Soto, executive director of Hispanic AIDS Forum, said, "It is a shame that with these figures on the rise, there are only three agencies in New York City receiving specific funding to address the prevention needs of Latino gay men
(Alianza Dominicana, Gay Men's Health Crisis and the Hispanic AIDS Forum). As a response to this emergency we demand $3 million dollars in immediate additional funding targeted at HIV prevention programs for gay men of color and for ongoing institutional support for these programs in future annual city and statewide budgets" (Latino Commission on AIDS release, 2/21). Soto noted the unique problems Latinos face in the AIDS epidemic. "There are problems with language, there are significant numbers of undocumented aliens, and there is the transgender community, all of which are underserved," he said. But New York City Department of Health spokesperson Greg Butler defended the department's efforts. "We have targeted a number of community groups that provide HIV prevention services for minority populations," he said, noting that the city maintains "independent offices targeting minorities and the gay and lesbian communities" (Newsday, 2/22).
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