2024 NaLa Conference: A Conversation on Challenges Hispanic, Latino, and Latinx Communities Face

Content From: HIV.govPublished: June 14, 20243 min read


Lee este blog en español.


The 2024 National Latinx Conference on HIV/HCV/SUD (NALA, for its English acronym) is one of the largest gatherings in the U.S. of people working with Hispanic, Latino, and Latinx (hereinafter referred to as Latinx) communities on HIV-related issues. This year, the conference was held from May 2-4 in El Paso, Texas. HIV.gov joined numerous participants across the country to address health disparities affecting the Latinx community, including HIV, hepatitis C, and substance use disorder.

To learn more about how community organizations are addressing these challenges, former OIDP Region 9 Program Director, Michelle Sandoval-Rosario, DrPH, MPH, CDR, U.S. Public Health Service, joined Elia Chino of the Latin American Foundation Against AIDS (FLAS, Inc.) during the conference to talk about the HIV challenges Latinx communities face and innovative strategies to overcome them.

HIV Stigma

During the conversation, Elia shared that one of the biggest challenges facing the Latinx community is the stigma around HIV. HIV stigma refers to irrational or negative attitudes, behaviors, and judgments toward people living with or at risk of HIV. It can negatively affect the health and well-being of people living with HIV by discouraging some individuals from learning their HIV status, accessing treatment, or staying in care.

Community Challenges

In addition to the HIV stigma, Elia mentions that factors such as lack of transportation, education, unemployment, and housing also affect people's ability to access health services. For example, stable housing is closely related to successful outcomes in HIV management.

Furthermore, Elia explains that many of those they work with in the Latinx community are tired of the same “get tested, get tested” messages and emphasized that organizations must be creative to overcome these challenges.

Innovative Strategies

Elia believes that we need to incorporate other things, other initiatives so that people are encouraged to get tested. FLAS, Inc., for example, offers a wide range of services including HIV testing, but also focuses on other aspects of health. In order to reduce the stigma associated with HIV testing, FLAS, Inc. has incorporated health screenings that include testing for other sexually transmitted diseases, as well as diabetes, cholesterol, and liver diseases. This helps people feel more comfortable accessing these services because they are not exclusively related to HIV.

Elia also highlighted that it is important to offer additional support to the community, not only through medical services but also referrals for immigration, legal issues, and holistic workshops, which are topics of importance to the Latinx community.

2024 National Latinx Conference on HIV/HCV/SUD

We invite you to watch the full conversationExit Disclaimer between Elia Chino and CDR Michelle Sandoval-Rosario, which highlights the importance of the tireless work that community organizations like FLAS, Inc. do to address and overcome the challenges the Latinx community faces regarding HIV.

Follow our social media channels (FacebookExit Disclaimer, XExit Disclaimer, and InstagramExit Disclaimer) to stay up to date on different topics of interest to the HIV community. Please also read the June 3 blog about this conference.