National Latino AIDS Awareness Day – October 15th 2011

AIDS  Awareness

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.

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