News From the Border

Providing the news from a different front but from a war that we must win as well! I recognize the poverty and desperate conditions that many Latinos live in. We, as the USA, have a responsibility to do as much as we can to reach out to aid and assist spiritually with the Gospel and naturally with training, technology and resources. But poverty gives no one the right to break the laws of another sovereign nation.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

AIDS among Hispanics is on the rise

Jul. 22, 2008 04:44 PM
Washington Post

SAN YSIDRO, Calif. - AIDS rates in the nation's Hispanic community are increasing and, with little notice, have reached what experts are calling a simmering public health crisis.

Though Hispanics comprise about 14 percent of the U.S. population, they represented 22 percent of new HIV and AIDS diagnoses tallied by federal officials in 2006. According to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Hispanics in Washington D.C. have the highest rate of new AIDS cases in the country.

So far, the toll of AIDS in the nation's largest and fastest growing minority population has mostly been overshadowed by the epidemic among African Americans and gay white men. Yet in major U.S. cities, as many as 1 in 4 gay Hispanic men has HIV, a rate on par with sub-Saharan Africa.

Blacks still have the highest HIV rates in the country, but language difficulties, cultural barriers and, in many cases, issues of legal status make the threat in the Hispanic community unique. For those who arrived illegally, in particular, fear of arrest and deportation presents a daunting obstacle to seeking diagnosis and treatment.

"Officials need to stop downplaying or ignoring what's happening among Hispanics," said Oscar De La O, president of Bienestar, a Hispanic service organization. "We are at the center of the storm."

Even with the United States embroiled in a fierce debate over immigration policy, the problem of AIDS in Hispanics had received scant attention from political and public health officials. At the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where only two of 17 approved HIV programs target Hispanic Americans, officials have added Spanish-language hotlines, confidential testing sites and other initiatives aimed at filling the gap.

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