HIV Awareness
Photo: @aidshealthcare/Instagram
Lifestyle

How The Latinx Community Is Being Affected by HIV and AIDS

HIV Awareness
Photo: @aidshealthcare/Instagram

Yesterday, October 15, wasn’t just the last day of Hispanic Heritage Month, it also marked National Latino AIDS Awareness Day. Although medications and health management allows those with HIV or AIDS to live relatively long and healthy lives, HIV/AIDS is still a threat—a disease we should continue to inform ourselves about and educate others on.

The following are nine facts about HIV and AIDS, proving that the epidemic is still very real and so important to speak about. Removing the stigma surrounding the disease, maintaining an open dialogue, and awareness, are all essential step towards HIV/AIDS education and prevention.

Every 9.5 seconds, someone is diagnosed with HIV.

The average television commercial, which goes by in the blink of an eye, lasts 30 seconds. In that time, three people have been diagnosed with HIV. Take a moment to think about that.

1 in 50 Latinos will be Diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime.

If changes are not made, one out of every 50 Latino males, one will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime. One out of every 227 Latinas are projected to be diagnosed. In 2015, the HIV diagnosis rate for Latinas was more than three times higher than that of white non-Latina women.

1 in 7 people don’t know they are living with HIV.

Knowledge is power, and allows you to tackle whatever you are dealt with. But you can’t treat something medical you don’t know you have. 1 in 7 people don’t know they have HIV. Please get tested!

Latinxs make up over 21% of new HIV infections each year.

Latinxs make up 17%-18% of the population of the United States, but every year, they are 21%- 25% of new HIV infections. Transmission was through male-to-male sexual contact, heterosexual contact, and/or intravenous drug use. 

Women 25-39 account for 40% of all new HIV diagnoses among women.

Diagnoses among all women went down 16% from 2011 to 2015. Continued education and awareness is key to lowering this number. Women aged 25 to 39 make up 40% of all new diagnoses among women, so make sure to get tested, and encourage those you know to do the same.

Since 2008, African-America Women = 2/3 of all women diagnosed yearly.

For every year since 2008, African-American women have made up two-thirds of all women diagnosed with HIV. In 2015, the disease was the fourth leading cause of death of African-American women aged 35-44.

Many Latinos are not getting medical care for HIV/AIDS.

Early detection, medication, and proper management of HIV means a full and relatively healthy life for those who are infected. Unfortunately, though, many HIV+ Latinxs are not getting the care they need. A 2014 analysis showed that about 80% are linked to care, but only a little more than half (54%) are retained in care. Even more troubling is that only 44% were prescribed antiretroviral therapy, and only 37% had reached a very low level of HIV in the blood, the goal known as “viral suppression.”

Lack of treatment for HIV leads to AIDS.

We know that untreated HIV develops into full-blown AIDS. With all the medical advancements today, this doesn’t need to happen. But, as we mentioned before, you can’t treat a disease you don’t know you have. It is better to face fear and get tested and treated, than put it off and deal with AIDS, which only leads to further health complications later.

HIV+ people on treatment can reduce risk of transmission by 96%.

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#prEP

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A 2011 study showed that, with heterosexual couples, treating the HIV-positive partner with antiretroviral medication reduced the risk of the other partner contracting the virus by 96%. prEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) can also be given to those who are at an increased risk of contracting HIV.

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