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October 15 is National Latino AIDS Awareness Day

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) Oct. 15 -- "United We Can Stop HIV and Prevent AIDS. Unidos Podemos Detener el VIH y Prevenir el SIDA." That is the message for the seventh annual National Latino AIDS Awareness Day, which our nation observes today, October 15.

The number of people living with HIV and AIDS in the U.S. continues to grow, especially among Latino and other minority communities. While Hispanics represent approximately 13 percent of the U.S. population, they account for an estimated 18 percent of people living with HIV in the U.S. Most new infections among Hispanic men (72 percent) occur among men who have sex with men (MSM), according to the most recent CDC estimates. In addition, the rate of new HIV infections among Hispanic women is nearly four times that of white women.(1)

The Latino Commission on AIDS and the Hispanic Federation, in partnership with a variety of faith and community organizations, started National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD) to provide Latino communities with an opportunity to encourage HIV prevention, testing, and treatment.

"We must recognize the individual needs of specific communities," said Dr. Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "And reach beyond the borders of our own communities in order to respond to HIV as a nation. In recognition of NLAAD, let us commit to continuing our efforts in the Latino community and beyond to promote HIV testing and link people who test positive to crucial treatment and care.

"This day is an opportunity for us to honor the dedicated family members, neighbors, coworkers, spiritual and community leaders, people living with HIV and AIDS, educators, health care workers, and advocates who want to stop the spread of HIV and to link people living with HIV to treatment and care. We must all work together to tackle the disproportionate impact of HIV and AIDS on Latino communities in the U.S.

"United We Can Stop HIV and Prevent AIDS. Unidos Podemos Detener el VIH y Prevenir el SIDA."