While the numbers have changed over the years,
HIV and AIDS cases are still prevalent among individuals in the United States. This
Saturday, October 15th is National Latino AIDS Awareness Day. Learn more
about AIDS among Latinos and help spread awareness.
What is HIV?
HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, is a disease that can lead to acquired
immune deficiency (AIDS). There are two types of HIV; however, unless
otherwise specified, the term HIV primarily refers to HIV-1 in the United
States. Both HIV-1 and HIV-2 destroy CD4+ T cells, blood cells that help
the body fight off disease—but studies show that HIV-2 tends to
develop more slowly and less aggressively than HIV-1. Late stage HIV infection
is known as AIDS and occurs when the body’s immune system has been
so severely damaged that it can no longer fight off diseases, increasing
the risk for cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, liver disease, and cancer.
Latino Risk Factors
While HIV and AIDS can be contracted by all individuals, the HIV epidemic
is a significantly higher risk to those within the Hispanic and
Latino community. In fact, Latinos represented nearly 15% of the HIV cases in the United
States in 2006. This means that the rate of new HIV infections among Latinos
was 2.5 times higher than whites during that year. Risk factors among
Latinos which increase the risk of contracting HIV and Aids include:
- Cultural factors which encourage avoidance of testing, counseling, or treatments
for fear of discrimination
- Socioeconomic factors such as language barriers and poverty
- Unprotected male-to-male sexual contact
- Injection drug use
If or a loved one is in need of HIV screening,
Regional Medical Center of San Jose is here to help. For more information, visit our website or contact us
at (408) 259-4000.