Ventura County, Calif., Effort Seeks To Encourage Hispanics To Talk Openly About HIV/AIDS
A task force of Hispanic community leaders in Ventura County, Calif., this week launched a campaign that aims to encourage the Hispanic community to talk openly about HIV/AIDS, the Ventura County Star reports. One-third of the Ventura County population in 2005 was Hispanic, and the group made up 60% of new AIDS cases that year, according to the Ventura County AIDS Partnership, which is launching the campaign. The subject of HIV/AIDS is sometimes considered taboo in the Hispanic community, the Star reports.
Cultural norms, taboos and myths about HIV/AIDS contribute to the spread of the disease in the Hispanic communities across the nation, according to Jesus Torres, social marketing chair of the partnership. Madhu Bajaj, executive director of the group, said he was prompted by results of local surveys, focus groups and other research to begin the initiative, called Cuidate, which means "take care" in Spanish. As part of the effort, the group is running newspaper advertisements beginning this week and lasting through February. The task force also will start training groups that teach others how to talk openly about HIV/AIDS and will first target mothers and teenage daughters.
"Our campaign tag is 'Let's start the conversation,'" Bajaj said, adding "There's a stigma. There's a silence" about HIV/AIDS in the Hispanic community. Torres said, "With this campaign, we will give the tools, resources and know-how to our Latino community so that they may protect their health" (Ventura County Star, 11/21).