Someone asked me recently “why does HIV affect Hispanics more than any other cultural group in the United States?”
You may not know this, but HIV is a serious threat to Latino communities. According to the Centers for Disease Control one in 50 Hispanics will be diagnosed with HIV during their lifetime. The rate of new HIV infections among Hispanic men is almost three times that of white men. In addition, the rate of new HIV infections among Hispanic women is more than four times that of white women.
So why does HIV affect Hispanics more so than it does other cultures? This is complex issue, as there is no single Latino culture. The factors driving this epidemic are as diverse as the communities themselves. Latinos born in different countries have different behavioral risk factors for HIV. In addition, the cultural value of machismo can create reluctance to acknowledge risky behavior. Too many Latinos lack the critical information about transmission and prevention, and they continue to be affected by HIV at far too high a level.
In Eagle County public middle and high schools, the population of Hispanic vs. white students is currently at 49.3 percent vs. 47 percent. Red Ribbon Project works with the middle and high school students in our community to educate adolescents about transmission and prevention of HIV. Our vision is a community that recognizes the importance of sexual health and well-being, particularly reaching out to youth with our “positive prevention” programming.
June 27 is National HIV Testing Day. We encourage you to learn about HIV transmission and prevention. The National Library of Medicine is an online resource with reliable scientific information. The following website has additional HIV information: http://aidsinfo.nih.gov/education-materials/fact-sheets. You can also call Red Ribbon Project at 970-827-5900 to inquire about a free confidential rapid HIV test.
Director of Red Ribbon Project