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Socio-cultural factors that affect HIV prevention among Latinas

Two Latina women talkingOctober 15th is National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD). This day gives us theperfect opportunity to talk about HIV and encourage HIV testing within the Latino community. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Latinos represent only 15% of the total U.S. population but account for 18% of all new HIV infections. Among the Latino community, men make up the vast majority of new HIV infections (76%) which mayincrease the rate of HIV among Latinas. Seventy percent of Latinas living withHIV/AIDS were infected through heterosexual contact. Could one of your Latina clients be one of them?

This month, we encourage you to reach out to Latina clients and provide them with more information about the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Bring up HIV testing as part of routine healthcare visits in order to normalize the topic and remove the stigma that is often associated with it.

Risk factors and barriers to keep in mind:

A number of cultural, socioeconomic, and health-related factors contribute to the HIV epidemic among Latinas. Depending on their age, education and background, Latinas face barriers that prevent them from getting tested. Some of these barriers include:.

Latina woman in thoughtRecommendations

It is important to remember that not all of the barriers mentioned above will apply to all of your Latina clients. Try to learn more about the client and offer a tailored message based on each client’s situation.

Latinos At-A-Glance

In the US:

  • 70% of Latinas living with HIV/ AIDS in 2005 were infected through heterosexual contact.1
  • Latinas account for 15% of all women living with HIV/ AIDS.1

In North Carolina:

  • HIV cases among Latinas have declined since 2003, but their rates are four times higher than that of white women.2
  • In 2007, there were 12.2 per 100,000 cases of Latinas infected with HIV.2

  1. HIV/AIDS Among Women. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  2. North Carolina Women’s Health Report Card. UNC Center for Women’s Health Research

5 Useful Spanish Phrases

  1. ¿Alguna vez le han hecho la prueba del VIH?
    Have you ever been tested for HIV?

  2. ¡No se avergüence! Vamos a hablar sobre el HIV. ¿Tiene alguna pregunta?
    Don’t be ashamed! Let’s talk about HIV. Do you have any questions?

  3. El VIH es prevenible y se puede tratar.
    HIV is preventable and is treatable.

  4. En Carolina del Norte, si usted está embarazada le ofrecerán la prueba del VIH.
    In North Carolina, if you are pregnant, you will be offered the HIV test.

  5. Los resultados de su prueba son confidenciales.
    The results of your test are confidential. 

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