Latinx National AIDS Awareness Day 2022

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Saturday, October 15 marks National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day (#NLAAD) 2022. Organized by the Latin American AIDS Commission, the Hispanic Federation and other groups, the awareness day is an opportunity to highlight the disproportionate impact of HIV on Latinos.

In 2020, according to data from AIDSVu.org, Latinos made up 19% of the US population but accounted for 27% of new HIV cases. That means 8,285 Latinos were diagnosed with HIV in 2020, though researchers caution that due to COVID-19 shutdowns and disruptions that year, the data should be taken with caution. Overall, approximately 1.2 million people are estimated to be living with HIV in the United States.

The theme for this year’s NLAAD is “You Choose!” The campaign references the many new HIV prevention and treatment options available today. Whether you prefer daily pills or long-acting injectables, there is a regimen that will work for you!

This year’s theme tells us what’s new in HIV science, says NLAAD.org, adding that injectable drugs for treatment (given once a month) or prevention (given once every two months) can to end the HIV epidemic.

Awareness day, write NLAAD advocates, encourages “everyone to do their part in the fight against HIV: get tested for HIV, learn about HIV and risk factors, consider PrEP [pre-exposure prophylaxis] and using condoms as prevention approaches and staying on treatment for HIV to become virally suppressed or undetectable.

Undetectable status is important because people living with HIV who take medication to maintain an undetectable viral load not only live healthier and longer, but also do not transmit the virus sexually, a fact called undetectable= non-transferable, or U=U .

AIDSVu.org, which creates shareable graphs and interactive maps based on the latest HIV and PrEP data, offers more information about HIV and the social determinants of health among Latinos:

  • In 2020, 18% of Hispanics/Latinx in the United States lived in poverty, compared to 13% of the general American population
  • In 2020, 18% of Hispanics/Latinx lacked health insurance, compared to just 9% of the overall US population
  • In 2020, 3% of all Hispanics/Latinx in the United States were food insecure, compared to 12% of the entire US population.

“The Hispanic/Latinx community faces unique cultural and societal challenges in HIV prevention, treatment and care, including language barriers and distrust of the healthcare system,” writes AIDSVu.org. “These challenges can also delay HIV testing and needed treatment. In 2021, 23% of new HIV diagnoses among Hispanics/Latinx were diagnosed late, meaning these people were diagnosed with stage 3 HIV (AIDS) within 3 months of their initial HIV diagnosis. In the same year, an estimated only 45% of Hispanic/Latino people reported ever having been tested for HIV. Research also suggests that undocumented Hispanic/Latin immigrants are also more likely to be diagnosed late.

To learn more about Awareness Day, including events happening in your city, search #NLAAD on social media.

In a similar vein, the American Conference on HIV/AIDS (#2022USCHA) was held last week in Puerto Rico and highlighted the challenges and achievements related to HIV in the Latin American community.

The talk included a stage reading of the podcast love in gravity, a ViiV Healthcare series of HIV stories by and for Latinos. You can listen to the episodes for free on Apple and Spotify and other podcast providers. Do yourself a favor and check out the episode “Our Lady of the Six Train,” which played in Puerto Rico (pictured in the tweet below). Additional live readings from the series will be performed at 7 p.m. at the Miami Light Project on Friday and Saturday, October 14 and 15, in honor of National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day. Tickets are free and available here.

Until October 25, you’ll also have the chance to watch a new documentary about Latino AIDS advocate Pedro Zamora titled Keep the Cameras Rolling: The Pedro Zamora Method. Zamora starred in The Real World: San Francisco and died just hours after the final episode aired. The film is screened live and online as part of NewFest, New York’s LGBTQ film festival. For more details on the film, read our interview with journalist and documentary filmmaker Leo Rocha, one of the screenwriters of the film.



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