New York City HIV/AIDS Advocates Conducting Increased HIV/AIDS Education Among Mexican Immigrants
HIV/AIDS advocates in New York City have begun intensifying their education and outreach efforts among Mexican immigrants in an effort to curb the spread of the disease in the community, the New York Times reports. According to Michele Shedlin -- a health professor at the University of Texas-El Paso who led a recent study about HIV among immigrants in New York City -- risky behaviors, inadequate access to health care services and a lack of knowledge all put Mexican immigrants at an increased risk of contracting the disease. Javier Soriano, director of the New York-based not-for-profit group Mexicanos Unidos, said language and cultural barriers also might be preventing groups from making contact with newly arrived Mexican immigrants -- many of whom speak local dialects. "Hispanic providers are expected to understand these new immigrants because they speak Spanish," Shedlin said, adding that most health care providers who speak Spanish likely would not understand a Mexican immigrant who spoke another dialect. Soriano also said that cultural taboos associated with condom use have hindered efforts to fight the disease. In addition, Vanessa Ramos -- an administrator at the Committee for Hispanic Children and Families, which runs a bimonthly HIV/AIDS information table at the Mexican Consulate -- said that fears of deportation among undocumented immigrants have hindered efforts to reach the population. Soriano said he now directs his HIV/AIDS outreach efforts toward people who likely do not access other prevention services -- including clients of commercial sex workers and Mexican women -- and has formed partnerships with Mexican organizations that have not made HIV/AIDS outreach a priority (Garland, New York Times, 8/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.