HIV/AIDS Prevention Efforts Failing To Reach Hispanic Community in the South, Report States
HIV/AIDS prevention efforts in Alabama and other Southern states fail to reach the Hispanic population, despite a rise in cases among Hispanics, according to a report released on Monday by the Latino Commission on AIDS, the Birmingham News reports. The two-year investigative report -- "Shaping the New Response: HIV/AIDS & Latinos in the Deep South" -- looked at HIV rates and programs in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
For Alabama, the report found that while there are clinical services available for people living with HIV/AIDS, few services employed bilingual health care professionals. The number of Hispanics diagnosed with HIV in the state increased from 22 in 2005 to 31 in 2007, according to the report. One HIV clinical care facility based in Birmingham reports a doubling of cases among Hispanics within the last year. Montgomery AIDS Outreach reports that about 3% of its clients are Hispanic.
Tykeysha Boone, director of education for AIDS Alabama, said a lack of funding has prevented the organization from hiring bilingual staff, even though language barriers represent a large challenge for the agency. She added, "Every culture has different barriers and different things that appeal to them and different things they find innovative. That's probably what the issue is right now -- trying to figure out what is the most innovative approach" (Stock, Birmingham News, 12/3).
The report is available online.