Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Profiles Health Center Targeting Milwaukee’s Latino Community
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel yesterday profiled the local Sixteenth Street Community Health Center's efforts to raise HIV/AIDS awareness among Milwaukee's Latino community. Milwaukee County accounts for about half of Wisconsin's new HIV cases. Among these cases, 15% occurred among Latinos in 2001, up from 10% in 2000, and the number is expected to grow as the Latino population increases. Julie Bock, the center's HIV coordinator, said that a lack of public information about HIV/AIDS is largely responsible for the high infection rate. "The information is not out there; you would be surprised. Many think it's like the flu. It's a big issue, and it's important to have bilingual workers. We have to get them interested in getting the information, hopefully, before its happens to them," she said. The center, which has 11 employees dedicated to HIV/AIDS services and received $650,000 for HIV/AIDS efforts in state and federal funds this year, sends outreach workers to areas where high-risk groups, such as intravenous drug users and people who engage in unprotected sex, congregate -- "drug houses, bars, supermarkets and other gathering places" -- to talk about HIV/AIDS, distribute brochures in Spanish and English and pass out condoms. Workers sometimes also perform HIV tests, but they say it is more important to "try to get to know people" who are at risk for HIV to "warn them of the dangers" and "teach them how to protect themselves and others" (Pabst, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 3/18).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.