Foundations, Private Groups Should Do ‘Whatever They Can’ To Fight AIDS Among Cleveland’s Latinos, Editorial Says
Foundations and other private groups in Cleveland "should do whatever they can to help ensure that Latinos ... get the resources they need to fight this scourge" of HIV/AIDS, a Cleveland Plain Dealer editorial says. City health officials recently released data indicating an increase in the proportion of HIV cases among Cleveland's Latino population (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 3/23). Although black and white men still account for the majority of HIV/AIDS cases in Cleveland, the proportion of HIV cases among Latino men in the city increased in 2002, according to city health officials. In conjunction with the federal Rapid Assessment, Response and Evaluation project, officials were able to track the trend and its causes to three neighborhoods on the city's West Side, where 51% of the city's Latino population lives. After identifying the trend, city officials urged Latino advocates to teach AIDS prevention and encouraged Spanish-speaking churches to help families learn to comfortably discuss sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV. Officials also targeted agencies aimed at curtailing injection drug use among Latinos. However, the city's monthly HIV/AIDS data are not complete. City health officials said that about 40% of the HIV/AIDS cases reported in 2003 did not include transmission information and about 20% did not include race or ethnicity (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/19). The editorial says that the findings are "very disturbing" because the information is "vital to public health officials who are trying to stop the spread of the disease, and no one should be more aware of that than doctors and hospital officials" who submit incomplete reports. The editorial concludes that although some of the data used in the RARE project "aren't as forthright as they should be," RARE "did a fine job of highlighting this issue and getting feedback from Latinos" (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 3/23).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.