Raising awareness about HIV/AIDS improves the health of people of all genders, sexualities and races. However, HIV and AIDS have a greater impact on some groups compared to others. Latinxs, or people of any gender with Latin American heritage, have an increased vulnerability to HIV/AIDS. Fortunately, we can improve HIV prevention for Hispanics and Latinxs with education and awareness.
How Does HIV Affect Latinxs?
HIV has a disproportionate effect on the Latinx community. They make up 18 percent of the total population, but they have 26 percent of new and ongoing HIV diagnoses. Most cases of HIV in Latinxs occur in cisgender men. However, people of any gender can get the condition. The following factors contribute to increased rates in Latinxs:
- Language: Many Latinxs with HIV speak Spanish as their first language. They have different levels of English understanding, which can become a barrier to care.
- Immigration Status: A lack of access to benefits like Medicaid can interfere with care for documented and undocumented immigrants. Undocumented immigrants may also worry about arrest or deportation.
- Income and Insurance Coverage: Latinxs with low incomes or insufficient insurance coverage have difficulty finding affordable care and testing.
- Discrimination: Racial and sexual biases can discourage Latinxs from getting healthcare. The stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS also contributes to this barrier.
However, we have the tools and resources needed to change these statistics. Members of the Latinx community and their allies can work on reducing HIV’s impact on this population.
How Do We Work Toward Improving HIV Outcomes Among Latinxs?
Increasing awareness and access to care can help us reduce HIV diagnoses and help HIV-positive Latinxs. Teaching others about HIV helps Latinxs protect themselves from the disease. Early detection and treatment of HIV ensure that people who receive a diagnosis can live healthy lives. Antiretroviral therapy improves the life expectancy of an HIV-positive patient by decades.
When you teach others about HIV prevention, you can help lower the Latinx community’s infection rates. Encourage your friends and loved ones to practice safe sex. You can participate in awareness initiatives like National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day and look for advocacy groups in your community. Talking about HIV gives us the chance to reduce the stigma surrounding the disease.
Improving access to care involves education and support. If you know someone considering HIV testing, let them know you will stand by them regardless of their diagnosis. Teach others about free testing clinics and programs such as the AIDS Drug Assistance Program. Your local hospital or clinic may also need volunteer interpreters if you speak Spanish.
Where Can Latinxs With HIV Get Support?
If you need HIV testing or care, you can get help from a supportive healthcare organization. Some clinics serve specific populations such as the LGBT community and Latinxs. Alder Health Services welcomes Latinxs in the Harrisburg, PA, area to request our HIV services. We accept all patients for our free and confidential HIV testing every Wednesday fro 4 to 8 pm. Our organization also provides behavioral health services, case management and housing assistance for HIV-positive patients.
You may contact us by calling 717-233-7190 or completing our online contact form.
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