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National Latino AIDS Awareness Day Highlights Disparities and Needs of Latino/Hispanic Population

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National Latino AIDS Awareness Day(NLAAD), recognized annually on October 15, is opportunity to raise awareness about the HIV/AIDS epidemic among Latino and Hispanic people in the U.S.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), while Latinos/Hispanics make up 16% of the total U.S. population, they accounted for 20% of all new HIV infections and 19% of all people living with HIV in 2009. As is true for all racial/ethnic groups, gay and bisexual Latino men are most heavily affected by the epidemic, accounting for two-thirds of new HIV infections.

New data published in the October 12, 2012, issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report indicate that in 2010 an estimated 10,731 Latinos/Hispanics were newly diagnosed with HIV in 46 reporting states (89.6%) and Puerto Rico (10.4%). The rate of new infections among Latinos (20.4 per 100,000 persons) is nearly 3 times that of non-Hispanic whites (7.3 per 100,000 persons) and about one-third that of blacks.

But the scope and makeup of the epidemic differs considerably across geographic regions and among Latino/Hispanic people of different ethnic and national origins.

Latinos living in the Northeast have the highest HIV incidence rate in the nation (55.0 per 100,000 persons). Latinos from this region are more likely to have been born in Puerto Rico and more likely to have been infected through sharing injection drug equipment.

However, the largest percentage of Latinos diagnosed with HIV live in the South (35%) and the West (32%). People in these groups are more likely to be of Mexican or Central American descent and more likely to have been infected through male-to-male sexual contact.

"New CDC data make clear that just as there is no single Latino community in the United States, there is no single solution to the epidemic -- effective HIV prevention programs must be tailored to diverse needs," said Kevin Fenton, director of the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, in an annual NLAAD statement. "Differences in country of birth and ancestry are critical to understand, given that research indicates risk behaviors and influences on behavior differ for each culture."

Latino HIV/AIDS Resources:

AIDSinfo -- National Latino AIDS Awareness Day web page

CDC -- National Latino AIDS Awareness Day LAAD web page

CDC fact sheet -- HIV among Latinos

Latino Commission on AIDS

10/16/12

Sources

Q An, A Hernandez, J Prejean, et al. Geographic Differences in HIV Infection Among Hispanics or Latinos -- 46 States and Puerto Rico, 2010. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 61(40):805-810. October 12, 2012.

K Fenton, CDC. National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (Oct. 15): Many Communities, One Goal -- Reversing HIV among Latinos. Media statement. October 15, 2012.

CDC. HIV among Latinos. Fact sheet. Last modified November 8, 2011.