‘Denial, Rejection’ Contribute to Increase in Number of HIV Cases in Cleveland’s Latino Community, Opinion Piece Says
"Denial and rejection continue to fuel ignorance and the spread of" HIV/AIDS in Latino communities in Cleveland's West Side neighborhoods, Phillip Morris, associate editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer's editorial pages, writes in a Plain Dealer opinion piece. According to Morris, there "aren't enough" people speaking out to combat the "strong stigmatization of HIV and AIDS in Hispanic communities." He says that although the AIDS Task Force of Greater Cleveland, Proyecto Luz, the Hispanic Urban Minority Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Outreach Program and others "work diligently to offer culturally specific prevention programs," the number of HIV cases continues to increase among the city's Latino population (Morris, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 4/13). 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 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/19). According to Morris, HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment messages are not "getting through" because there are not "enough ... people divorced from politics and agendas who are willing to speak to Cleveland's at-risk Latino communities and say 'wake up!'" and to "exhort condom use, HIV testing and avoidance of shared needles." Morris asks, "How many more Latino men must contract the disease and go into hiding from themselves and their community? ... [H]ow many more young Latino women ... must get sick and die before the message takes hold?" (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 4/13).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.