Michigan will recognize Oct. 15 as the ninth annual National Latino AIDS Awareness Day in Michigan. The national theme for this year’s Latino AIDS Awareness Day is “Latinos Unite! Let’s Stay Healthy! Get Tested For HIV! Latinos Unidos y Saludables! Hazte La Prueba Del VIH!” National Latino AIDS Awareness Day is observed on the final day of Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 – Oct. 15.
Hispanics continue to be disproportionately represented in this epidemic in Michigan. The Hispanic population has a rate of HIV infection that is two times more than that of the Caucasian population in Michigan. Fifty-two percent of AIDS cases in Hispanics were concurrently diagnosed with HIV, which is higher than African-American and Caucasian persons, indicating late testing or inadequate levels of care. In the Detroit area, as many as one out of 370 Hispanic males and one out of 1,040 Hispanic females may be infected with HIV.
“Each year, National Latino AIDS Awareness Day serves as a vital reminder in our fight against this disease,” said Olga Dazzo, Director of the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH). “Minority groups, especially Latinos, are disproportionately represented in this epidemic. Prevention education, as well as improving access to HIV testing, remains imperative to our mission, and MDCH is proud to take part in this national awareness event.”
Activities planned encourage those at risk to get tested, and include bi-lingual HIV counseling and testing; distribution of bi-lingual HIV prevention materials and Latino events throughout Michigan.
Michigan residents who want to join the Latino AIDS Awareness campaign, can get additional ideas on what to do in their community from the National Latino AIDS Awareness Day website at www.nlaad.org.
For more information regarding Michigan National Latino AIDS Awareness Day events, please contact the HIV/AIDS hotline at (800) 872-AIDS.