NASTAD RELEASES A NEW CALL TO ACTION TO ADDRESS HIV/AIDS AND VIRAL HEPATITIS IN LATINO COMMUNITIES
Washington, D.C. — Today, the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) releases its latest Call to Action: ¡Adelante! Strengthening the Response to HIV/AIDS and Viral Hepatitis in Latino Communities. Released in conjunction with National Latino AIDS Awareness Day, the Call to Action addresses the unique challenges affecting HIV and viral hepatitis in Latino communities and offers recommendations to confront this public health crisis.
In 2003, NASTAD released a policy document entitled Addressing Latino HIV/AIDS: Latino Perspectives and Policy Recommendations. This document provided a thorough review of the social and contextual factors that have contributed to the disproportionate rates of HIV infection and AIDS diagnoses within Latino communities. While the 2003 document is still very relevant to the discourse, NASTAD’s Latino Advisory Committee determined there is an urgent need to reenergize local, state and federal efforts to address HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis in Latino communities. This new Call to Action presses upon health departments, federal agencies, policymakers, and Latino-serving organizations to remain at the forefront of the battle to reduce transmission of HIV and viral hepatitis in Latino communities.
“Inadequate funding and pervasive indifference towards the cultural realities of Latino communities have created the perfect storm, leaving thousands of Latinos to pay the ultimate price,” remarked Julie Scofield, NASTAD’s Executive Director. “Prevention, treatment, and care programs must be tailored to effectively address the HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis epidemics in Latinos communities,” Scofield continued.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Latinos in the United States and Puerto Rico continue to be disproportionately affected by the HIV epidemic, accounting for a greater proportion of AIDS cases than their representation in the U.S. population. They have the second highest AIDS case rate in the nation by race/ethnicity. In 2006, Latinos represented approximately 14 percent of the total U.S. population but accounted for 19 percent of new AIDS diagnoses and 19 percent of all people living with AIDS in the 50 states the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Estimated AIDS prevalence among Latinos increased by 27 percent between 2002 and 2006, compared to a 19 percent increase among non-Latino whites.
“Our nation’s future economic prosperity depends on a healthy and thriving Latino population,” remarked Scofield. “With Latinos representing the largest and youngest minority group in the United States, dramatically reducing the incidence of HIV infection among Latinos must be a national priority,” she added. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Latino population is projected to triple from 47 million to 133 million between 2008 and 2050.
In addition to general recommendations to address HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis in Latino communities, ¡Adelante! identifies specific at-risk Latino populations and provides targeted and tailored recommendations to respond to their unique challenges. The populations include:
Latino gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM),
Transgender Latinas and Latinos,
Heterosexual Latinas and Latinos,
Latinos who inject drugs, and
In December of 2007, NASTAD released a road map for ending the epidemic in the U.S., The Blueprint: Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic through the Power of Prevention. This document, now released in Spanish, and its accompanying policy agenda detail the steps that must be taken to turn the tide on HIV/AIDS in America. The Blueprint challenges the nation to commit to ending the epidemic through the power of prevention. Chief among the recommendations is a call for an increase of at least $600 million for CDC’s core HIV prevention program to bring the historically underfunded program to scale.
Founded in 1992, NASTAD is a nonprofit national association of state health department HIV/AIDS program directors who have programmatic responsibility for administering HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis health care, prevention, education, and supportive services programs funded by state and federal governments. NASTAD’s mission is to strengthen state and territory-based leadership, expertise, and advocacy and bring them to bear in reducing the incidence of HIV infection, and in providing care and support to all who live with HIV/AIDS. NASTAD’s vision is a world free of HIV/AIDS. For more information, visit www.NASTAD.org.
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