Groups in 100 U.S. Cities To Mark National Latino AIDS Awareness Day
In response to the growing HIV prevalence among Latinos in the United States, people in more than 100 cities across the country on Wednesday will mark the first annual National Latino AIDS Awareness Day, according to a Hispanic Federation release (Hispanic Federation release, 10/9). NLAAD is being sponsored by the Hispanic Federation, the Latino Commission on AIDS and the LUCES coalition, in cooperation with more than 300 national partners. The groups hope that the day will help to increase HIV awareness and address the stigma and discrimination linked to HIV/AIDS in the Latino community, according to the Hispanic Federation Web site (Hispanic Federation Web site, 10/14). Participating groups will also call on HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson to increase HIV prevention efforts in "all segments of the Latino community," according to the release (Hispanic Federation release, 10/9). "AIDS has disproportionately affected Latinos who represent 14% of the United States population, but as a percentage of the national number of people living with AIDS, Latinos represent a staggering 20%," Dennis De Leon, president of the Latino Commission on AIDS, said. Luis Lopez of AltaMed Health Services in Los Angeles said, "The continued growth of the Latino population throughout the U.S., coupled with the severe lack of targeted prevention efforts, is producing nothing short of a state of emergency. It's time we acknowledge that we're facing a runaway train that must be stopped. Latinos need better access to health services and need funding dollars for more targeted prevention of HIV/AIDS" (Hispanic Federation release, 10/10). Thompson said in a statement, "I commend the national, regional and local organizations that joined forces to bring about this historic day. Together we can make a difference" (HHS release, 10/14).
In conjunction with NLAAD, Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins and Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas of the R&B group TLC on Wednesday will help to launch in Spanish Agouron Pharmaceuticals' national HIV/AIDS education initiative, known as "Dialogues: Education and Treatment for a Well Planned Future," according to a Dialogues release (Dialogues release, 10/15). The Dialogues program, which helps HIV-positive people work with their doctors to participate in their own care, was started by the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care, the American Public Health Association and the National Association of AIDS Education and Training Centers, in association with Agouron Pharmaceuticals, a Pfizer company. The program provides free printed materials, which can be ordered by phone or online, that offer HIV/AIDS information and reference materials, including medical term definitions (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/4). Watkins said, "Sadly, the incidence of HIV in Latinos is rising and many don't know they have it. In our music, we encourage people to be informed. The Dialogues program empowers people to talk with their doctor and create a plan for living with HIV" (Dialogues release, 10/15).