New Campaign in North Carolina Aims To Boost HIV/AIDS Awareness Among Hispanics
A new initiative launched Wednesday to raise HIV/AIDS awareness among Hispanics in North Carolina, the Raleigh News & Observer reports. Some state health officials were concerned that similar initiatives were not successful in the past, and the new effort "aims to address the gaps where public information campaigns about HIV and AIDS have fallen short," according to the News & Observer.
Hispanics represent 6% of the state's population and 8% of reported HIV cases in 2006, the News & Observer reports. Among Hispanics in North Carolina, there are 29.8 HIV cases for every 100,000 people, according to a state survey completed in July 2007. The state's average is 23.3 HIV cases per 100,000 people.
The new effort will be statewide and involve many agencies. It aims to boost HIV testing and will use bilingual educational campaigns, such as Spanish-language public service announcements on local Univision affiliates. In addition, the initiative will feature no-cost HIV testing at Hispanic community festivals.
According to Jesus Felizzola, who is coordinating the initiative, many Hispanics seek treatment for HIV only after the disease has progressed significantly, in part because they are unaware of available public medical services. Some might not seek treatment at all because of concerns about their immigration status, Felizzola said. He added, "We need the Latino community to understand the complexity and extent of this epidemic."
Yvonne Torres, HIV/STD program manager for Wake County Human Services, said, "The Latino community is not afraid to get tested. Where they have difficulty sometimes is in accessing services where someone understands their language" (Perez, Raleigh News & Observer, 1/24).