Post submitted by Noël Gordon, former HRC Senior Program Specialist for HIV Prevention and Health Equity.

Today marks National Latino AIDS Awareness Day, an opportunity to focus our attention on the impact of HIV and AIDS on Latino/as. 

A new report out of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that HIV disproportionately affects Latino/as. While they represent 17 percent of the U.S. population, in 2013, the rate of HIV diagnosis among Latino/as was nearly three times higher than that of non-Hispanic whites.

“While it’s encouraging to hear rates of HIV transmission have generally gone down in the Latino/a community, the fact remains that far too many Latino gay and bisexual men and Latina transgender women are struggling with this issue,” Marcos Garcia, Senior Program Manager of the HRC Health & Aging Program, said. “I hope Latino/as everywhere will join me in speaking up for our health and our community.”

Fast Facts:

  • While HIV diagnoses decreased among Latino adults and adolescents overall between 2008 and 2013, rates jumped three percent among Latino gay and bisexual men (CDC).

  • Latina women – especially trans Latina women – experience a much heavier HIV burden than their white and non-transgender counterparts (NCTE).

Prevention Challenges:

  • High prevalence rates - The comparatively large percentage of Latino/as living with HIV means that, as a group, we have a much greater chance of coming into contact with HIV, whether knowingly or not.

  • Cultural Factors - Traditional gender roles and cultural norms (e.g., "machismo," which stresses virility for Latino men, and "marianismo," which demands purity from Latina women) keeps some Latino/as from getting tested or treated for HIV in the first place.

  • Stigma and discrimination - Undocumented Latino/as may fear accessing HIV prevention or treatment services out of fear of disclosing their immigration status and facing possible deportation

Ways to Learn More and Get Involved:

HRC is committed to working with our allies, partners, members, and supporters to end the HIV epidemic and the stigma surrounding HIV. Click here to learn more, and join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #BeInTheKnow.


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