N.C. ‘Must Do Better’ on HIV/AIDS Prevention, Awareness Among Latino Population, Editorial Says
Universal obstacles to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment -- including social discrimination, cultural taboos, poverty, unequal access to resources, and a lack of education, awareness and political will -- are "apparent in the small but increasing number" of new HIV cases among Latinos in North Carolina, and "[s]topping the spread of HIV/AIDS will require concerted, pragmatic prevention efforts," according to a Charlotte Observer editorial (Charlotte Observer, 12/15). The number of new HIV cases among Latinos has more than doubled in Mecklenburg County, N.C., and the entire state in recent years, with the number of new HIV cases among Latinos in North Carolina rising from 45 in 1999 to 113 in 2003. In Mecklenburg County, there were no reported HIV cases among Latinos in 1999, but 17 cases were reported among the population in 2003. Experts expect more Latinos to be diagnosed as HIV-positive as the state's Latino population grows, and they are concerned with the recent rate of growth, especially because of the complex challenges in increasing HIV/AIDS awareness among Latinos, including cultural taboos that prevent many from learning about, discussing or getting tested for HIV (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 12/14). The "growth highlights the changing face of AIDS here and nationwide," which has become "increasingly female and minority," according to the editorial. This means that "new challenges" face health officials in stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS, and N.C. health educators have gotten "creative" in adopting strategies for Latino communities, according to the editorial. "We can and must do better," the editorial says (Charlotte Observer, 12/15).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.