October 15 is National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD). The 2016 theme is “We'll Defeat AIDS con Ganas! ('With our wholehearted efforts'). The Latino Commission on AIDS (LCOA), the Hispanic Federation and many other organizations organize this day.
Latinx (it’s not a typo) is the gender-neutral alternative to Latino, Latina and even [email protected] It is quickly gaining popularity among the general public.
"South Florida is the epicenter of HIV in the nation,” says Stephen Fallon, Executive Director of Latinos Salud. “All communities are affected. Yet within the LGBT community, cases are rising faster amongst Latinos than amongst any other demographic.”
In terms of numbers, Florida’s Department of Health says there are nearly 110,000 people in Florida living with an HIV diagnosis, as of 2014. Hispanics account for 24 percent of those cases. The proportion of all newly diagnosed adult HIV infection cases among Hispanics increased from 21 percent in 2005 to 27 percent in 2014. Of the newly diagnosed adult HIV infection cases in 2014, the case rate among Hispanic men was 2.4 times higher than the rate among white men; likewise the case rate among Hispanic women was 2.2 times higher than the rate among white women. Among adults, one in every 98 Hispanic men and one in every 422 Hispanic women were living with HIV/AIDS in 2014; compared to one in every 170 white men and one in every 1,049 white women.
Latinos and African-American men in South Florida live only half to two thirds as long after an AIDS diagnosis as their non-minority peers. The difference is simple: access to timely and effective HIV treatment.
“Latinos Salud exists to give gay Latinos a safe space to reduce their risk behaviors or, live healthier with HIV,” Fallon said. “NLAAD marks a reminder to get tested, get linked to care, or get help sticking to your treatment plan. Whatever your need, we’re here for you.”
On Friday, Oct. 14, Latinos Salud is hosting the MiFo film festival screening of “Strike a Pose,” a film that catches up with the back up dancers from Madonna’s famous “Truth or Dare” tour and movie. Several of the dancers were living with HIV at the time that they kept that grueling tour schedule. The screening is at 8 p.m. at the NSU Art Museum.
Next week, rounding out the NLAAD week’s activities, Latinos Salud will hold its annual Hispanic Heritage Food Bazaar for its members. On Oct. 21 at 10 p.m., an outreach and testing tent event will be held outside their Wilton Manors location.
Other testing sites can be found here:
For more information about National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day, visit https://latinoaids.org/.