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Report Looks at HIV/AIDS among Latino Gay Men

NASTAD recently released a report on challenges facing U.S. Latino gay men in relation to HIV/AIDS and access to care.

A new National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) report summarizes findings from a qualitative study of Latino gay men, community leaders, and staff of health departments and community-based organizations in 11 states and Puerto Rico.

The study aimed to identify key themes to inform effective federal, state, and local public health responses to HIV and sexually transmitted diseases among Latino men who have sex with men (MSM).

The report -- entitled "A Través de Nuestros Ojos (Through Our Eyes): Promoting Health and Social Equity to Address HIV/AIDS among Latino Gay Men" -- is available free online in both English and Spanish.

"Given the alarming infection rates among Latino gay men, the report gives voice to Latino gay men whose perspectives are often neglected in policy decision-making processes," reads the report's introduction. "Pursuant to the recommendations made in the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) released in July 2010, data presented in this report are intended to contribute to the four primary goals of the NHAS: reducing HIV incidence; increasing access to care and health outcomes; reducing HIV-related health disparities; and achieving a more coordinated national response."

In 2006, Latino men who have sex with men represented 72% of new infections among all Latino men and nearly 19% among all MSM, according to the report. The largest number of new infections -- more than 40% -- occurred in the youngest age group (13-29 years).

The report looks at several factors that impact the HIV/AIDS epidemic among Latino gay men, including culture, religion, and ideas about masculinity and gender roles. Among the challenges facing this population, the report examines financial barriers, immigration issues, access to care, stigma, and issues of cultural competence. It also includes recommendations for health departments, federal agencies, non-governmental agencies, and the community at large.

"The participants interviewed...understood that many Latino gay men live at the crossroads of risk and opportunity," the report concludes. "Latino gay men want fewer barriers to their participation in the job market. Participants want more community access to platforms that build Latino gay men's leadership and professional development."

"Latino gay men feel that there are few spaces to socialize and experience group-level education," it continues. "They do not want their social lives to be restricted exclusively to the bar or club venues in their localities. Moreover, these men want to be with other Latino gay men in spaces where alcohol, drugs or sex are not the only mediums of social exchange and growth. The economic and social challenges that are documented in this study attest to the enormous courage and hope that Latino gay men exhibit to simply survive on a daily basis."

5/3/11

Reference

NASTAD. A Través de Nuestros Ojos (Through Our Eyes): Promoting Health and Social Equity to Address HIV/AIDS among Latino Gay Men. March 2011.