Dear Colleague: Latinx National AIDS Awareness Day

Cross-posted from the CDC press room

Dear Colleague,

October 15 is National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD), a day to raise awareness of the impact of HIV on the Hispanic / Latino community in the United States. This year on NLAAD, we encourage you to join us in reducing HIV stigma, preventing new HIV infections among Hispanics / Latinos, and helping Hispanics / Latinos with and without HIV.

In recent years, we have seen progress in reducing new HIV infections and diagnoses among certain groups of Hispanics / Latinos. From 2015 to 2019, new HIV diagnoses decreased by 7% among Hispanic / Latin women and by 11% among young gay and bisexual Hispanic / Latino men. While these advances indicate the success of focused efforts, we still have a lot of work to do.

In 2019, more than 10,000 Hispanic / Latino people were diagnosed with HIV, representing 29% of all new HIV diagnoses in the United States and dependent regions. That same year, Hispanics / Latinos accounted for 29% of new HIV diagnoses (38% of which were aged 25 to 34) and 18% of the US population. Many social and structural factors, such as limited income and access to health care, unstable housing, discrimination, homophobia, transphobia and systemic racism have a significant influence on the overall health of some people. Hispanic / Latin American people and can be barriers to HIV testing, prevention, and treatment services.

These barriers can limit the uptake of HIV-related services in a number of ways, including preventing Hispanics / Latinos from knowing and using prevention options such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). The findings reflected in a recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reportreport that in 2019, only 1 in 4 Hispanic / Latin American people receiving a CDC-funded HIV test were aware of PrEP, and only 1 in 5 people who were eligible for a PrEP referral were referred to providers of PrEP. Low levels of PrEP awareness and referrals among Hispanics / Latinos suggest the need to identify barriers to PrEP services, establish PrEP education and referrals, expand drug coverage PrEP and implement culturally and linguistically appropriate strategies to achieve our national goal of 50% use. among all people who could benefit from PrEP in all groups.

Culturally and linguistically competent materials and campaigns could increase awareness and uptake of PrEP among Hispanics / Latinos. CDCLet’s stop HIV together ( Detengamos Juntos el HIV) has a wide variety of resources developed for the Hispanic / Latino audience. Prevention resources include Spanish and English web pages for #ShesWell (#SanaYPoderosa), a PrEP for women initiative, as well as campaign resources in English and Spanish. The CDC’s Spanish Campaign resources are created in Spanish or transcreated (tailor-made and recreated) to meet the cultural needs of Hispanics / Latinos. We encourage partners to visit the campaign website and download and share campaign material. We also encourage you to review the CDC’s fact sheets on HIV and Hispanic / Latin American People and HIV and Hispanic / Latino Gay and Bisexual Men.

TheTogethercampaign supports the national campaign End theHIV epidemic in the United States (EHE)initiative, which addresses health disparities and inequalities by ensuring communities have the expertise and resources they need to fill gaps in HIV prevention and care. Some of the basic CDC strategies include:

  • Implement HIV self-testing programs to make testing more accessible,
  • Increase the availability of HIV prevention tools, such as PrEP, and
  • Help people living with HIV stay healthy by quickly connecting them or re-engaging them in HIV treatment and care.

Now is the time for us to accelerate progress in preventing new HIV infections and reducing long-standing disparities and inequalities that plague Hispanic / Latino communities. This NLAAD, visit our digital NLAAD toolkit and share content on social media using the hashtags #StopHIVTogether, #DetengamosElVIHJuntos and #NLAAD.

Thank you for your continued partnership and continued commitment to ending the HIV epidemic. Together, we can eliminate health disparities and ensure Hispanics / Latinos have continued access to high quality, holistic services that include HIV testing, prevention and treatment.

Truly,

/ Demetre Daskalakis /
Demetre C. Daskalakis, MD, MPH
Director
HIV Prevention Division
National Center for the Prevention of HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STDs and Tuberculosis
Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention
www.cdc.gov/hiv

/ Jonathan Mermin /
Jonathan H. Mermin, MD, MPH
Rear Admiral and Deputy Surgeon General, USPHS
Director
National Center for the Prevention of HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STDs and Tuberculosis
Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention
www.cdc.gov/nchhstp


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