HHS To Launch HIV/AIDS Awareness Campaign Aimed at Latinos
U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona on Friday to mark National Latino AIDS Awareness Day announced that HHS will launch a new national HIV/AIDS awareness campaign aimed at Latinos, the Miami Herald reports (Tasker, Miami Herald, 10/16). More than 130 U.S. cities sponsored activities in observance of NLAAD on Oct. 15 -- which also marks the last day of Hispanic Heritage month. NLAAD aims to bring Latinos together in a "united voice for awareness" and confront the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS. Hispanic men are more than three times as likely as non-Hispanic white men to receive an AIDS diagnosis, and Hispanic women are more than five times as likely as non-Hispanic white women to be diagnosed with AIDS, according to the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Between 1981 and 2002, nearly 164,000 Hispanics tested positive for HIV and 87,888 died from HIV- or AIDS-related causes. NLAAD is organized by the Latino Commission on AIDS, with help from HHS and other groups (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/15). According to Carmona, HHS will produce five Spanish-language radio public service announcements and two television spots that promote HIV testing and prevention. The PSAs also will promote the National Hispanic HIV Hotline, 800-344-7432, and the HHS Office of Minority Health Web site. "From 1999 to 2002 in the 29 U.S. states with long-standing reporting, HIV diagnoses among Hispanics increased 26%," Carmona said, adding, "AIDS is currently the third leading cause of death for Hispanics ages 35 to 44" (Miami Herald, 10/16).
HIV/AIDS Among Kansas Latinos
Latinos currently are "outpacing" all other racial and ethnic groups in Kansas in terms of the number of new HIV infections, according to the state's Department of Health and Environment, the Wichita Eagle reports. The number of new HIV cases among Latinos in the state is "quickly increasing" and currently is twice the number reported among African Americans and four times the number among whites, according to the Eagle. Although African Americans in the state still represent the largest percentage of overall HIV/AIDS cases, Latinos might soon surpass them if the upward trend continues, according to the health department. Currently, 66 out of every 100,000 African Americans in Kansas are HIV-positive, compared with 44 out of every 100,000 Latinos and 10 out of every 100,000 whites. According to CDC, denial, poverty and injection drug use place Latinos at an increased risk of infection. "We don't acknowledge it even exists," Patty Larrega, a registered nurse who works with Latino patients, said, adding, "In our culture, it's comparable to mental health. Families shun it" (Woods, Wichita Eagle, 10/16).