Each October 15th, the Latino Commission on AIDS organizes the observance of National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD). NLAAD is a way to highlight the disproportionate impact HIV has on Hispanic and Latino communities.
NLAAD was founded in 2003 as a joint effort between the Latino Commission on AIDS and Hispanic Federation as a response to the impact of HIV/AIDS on the Hispanic/Latino communities in the US. Their goal is to draw attention to the critical role of HIV testing and prevention education as a way of stopping the spread of HIV among the Hispanic and Latino communities.
HIV is still a prominent issue in this community. By the end of 2016, an estimated 254,600 Latinos had HIV. For every 100 Latinos with HIV, just over half (51%) were virally suppressed, meaning they had effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to an uninfected partner. In 2018, this group had over 10,000 new HIV diagnoses, accounting for 27% of new diagnoses in the US and dependent areas.
This year’s NLAAD campaign is “Ending HIV is at your fingertips,” which stresses the tools that are already available to help prevent HIV transmission. These tools include:
- Getting tested – The CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested for HIV at least once as part of their routine healthcare. Knowing your status will also help you take the next steps in your sexual health.
- Using PrEP and Condoms – These are common forms of protection against HIV. For many, internal and external condoms can protect a partner from contracting an STD or HIV. PrEP is a once-a-day pill that helps prevent HIV-negative people from contracting the virus. It is often recommended for those who are at a higher risk of getting HIV, like someone with multiple partners, those with partners who are living with HIV, or those who use injection drugs and share needles or other works.
- Seeking HIV treatment – Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is a way to help lower the amount of virus present in one’s blood. When someone takes their medications correctly and consistently, their viral load can drop so low it is considered “undetectable,” which means they have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to a partner.
If you are looking for any of the above services, Caring Communities can help! Our clinics offer screening and testing for HIV and our case management department can help those diagnosed with HIV find and stay in medical care. We offer free condoms in a variety of types and sizes (including non-latex), and our clinics can help you get on PrEP, including referring you to programs that can help offset the cost.
Contact us today for more information!