Latinos & AIDS - What You Need to Know

October 15 marks National Latino AIDS Awareness Day. The NLAAD campaign works annually at building capacity for non-profit organizations and health departments in order to reach the Latino community, promote HIV testing and provide HIV prevention and access to care. 

Our community is seriously affected by the HIV epidemic. Consider this: 

Latinos represent approximately 16 percent of the U.S. population, but account for 20 percent of new HIV infections (in 2009, the most recent year that data is available). Almost 18,000 Hispanics and Latinos with AIDS have died in the U.S. and dependent areas. In 2009, nearly 3,300 Hispanic and Latino individuals with AIDS died.

Why does this continue to go on? Because of issues often seen in minority and underrepresented communities, including lower awareness of HIV status, poverty, access to care, stigma, migration, acculturation and homophobia. 

So what can you do to help and keep yourself healthy? Here's what you need to know, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): 

Learn about HIV and AIDS. Sounds simple, but there's a ton of misinformation out there that can harm you and your loved ones. It's important to educate yourself. Go to for more information and how to spread the word. 

Get tested! To find a testing site near you, call 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636), visit or text your zip code to KNOW IT (566948). CDC recommends that all adolescents and adults be tested for HIV at least once in their lifetime. Shockingly, more than half of Latinos have never been tested for HIV. 

Practice safer sex. Be sexually active with only one person who has agreed to be sexually active only with you, or don’t have sex. 

Get care! If you are living with HIV, appropriate treatment can keep you healthy and prevent transmission to others. 

Speak out against stigma, homophobia, racism, and other forms of discrimination associated with HIV and AIDS.

Volunteer with HIV and AIDS organizations that work within Hispanic/Latino communities.

For more information, visit