As of 2021, the HIV epidemic has been in existence for four decades. The theme of this year’s National Latinx HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (October 15), which falls on the last day of National Latinx Heritage Month, reflects that solemn fact: “It is time to end HIV, a pandemic that has survived 40 years.”
Latinx people are disproportionately impacted by HIV, especially men who have sex with men and transgender women. Sobering statistics include the fact that while the rate of new HIV diagnoses has decreased in the general U.S. population, diagnoses among Latinx people have recently increased. In 2019, Latinx Americans accounted for 28.5% of new HIV diagnoses, though they represent only 18.4% of the U.S. population. Due to unequal access to sexual health services and other resources, only 53% of Latinx people living with HIV have achieved undetectable viral load, which prevents someone from passing the virus to others. Among new diagnoses in the Latinx community, 62% were among foreign-born people. One in three Latinx trans women are estimated to have HIV, a particularly distressing statistic.
While these numbers are challenging, we know we can do better since we do have the tools to end the HIV epidemic. We must work to reduce the impacts of stigma, homophobia, transphobia, and xenophobia, which have all been major barriers in accessing HIV testing, prevention, treatment and care in Latinx communities. We must also increase awareness and access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), which are critical tools to prevent HIV. Poverty, fear of disclosing immigration status, language barriers, and general mistrust of the health care system are other challenges to overcome.
Education and outreach is crucial for reaching Latinx communities and ending the HIV epidemic. To achieve that goal, Amida Care works closely with organizations including Acacia Network , Colectivo Intercultural Transgrediendo, the Latino Commission on AIDS, and Translatinx Network to ensure that people get the information and access to care that they need to prevent new HIV transmissions, or to have full, healthy lives if they are living with HIV.
National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day
Latino Commission on AIDS
National Institutes of Health
Centers for Disease Control
NYC Department of Health HIV Prevention
The Invisible US Hispanic/Latino HIV Crisis