Southern California and OIDP Regional Program Celebrate 20 Years of National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day and VIDA’s 10-year Anniversary
As Hispanic Heritage Month neared its conclusion on October 15, representatives from the HHS’ OASH Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy (OIDP) were joined by the Latino Commission on AIDSExit Disclaimer, California Department of Public Health Office of AIDS, VIDAExit Disclaimer (an HIV service provider), The Los Angeles Family AIDS NetworkExit Disclaimer, and Gilead SciencesExit Disclaimer to commemorate National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day (NLADD), NLAAD’s 20-year anniversary, and VIDA’s 10-year anniversary. This was also an opportunity to recognize disparities impacting the community and triumphs.
This year’s NLAAD theme, “Do it your way. Do it right.” encourages people to take advantage of the many available options to protect themselves from HIV, highlighting that they can choose what is right for them.
Making a Difference in the Community
OIDP and partners visited organizations across San Diego County to learn about their efforts to address health disparities impacting Hispanic and Latinx communities. They visited San Ysidro HealthExit Disclaimer, La Maestra Community Health CentersExit Disclaimer, Mama’s KitchenExit Disclaimer, the Mother, Child & Adolescent HIV ProgramExit Disclaimer at UC San Diego, and Christie’s PlaceExit Disclaimer. “It was an honor for me, as a proud Hispanic/Latinx community member, to visit such dedicated and committed organizations that serve our community. San Diego is making significant strides in accelerating the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. initiative,” said LT Alberto Pina, Public Health Analyst, OIDP.
In honor of VIDA’s 10-year anniversary, OIDP and partners also attended a community event that included a panel discussion about NLAAD, the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS), HIV stigma and screening, and building personal and community resiliency. There was also a screening of UCLA’s film, “Chasing”, a health education film that responds to the intersection of methamphetamine (meth) use and HIV in the gay community, addressing multilevel struggles that accompany meth addiction. Reflecting on the event, CDR Michelle Sandoval-Rosario, Region IX Director and HIV.gov Deputy Director, shared, "Witnessing the progress made by our partners in San Diego toward ending HIV in the Hispanic/Latinx community was truly inspiring. I firmly believe that by coming together, we can make a lasting impact and end HIV.”
The event brought together over 25 organizations and community members across San Diego, including one of the “Celebro mi salud” creative partners. “Celebro mi salud” is the Spanish-language version of “I am a Work of ART,” an HHS-launched national community-informed viral suppression campaign.
NHAS Prioritizes Hispanic and Latinx Communities
The NHAS designates the Hispanic and Latinx populations as a priority group, as these communities are disproportionately affected by HIV compared to other racial/ethnic groups. In 2019, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 29% of the 36,801 new HIV diagnoses in the U.S. and dependent areas were among Hispanic and Latinx communities. Additionally, in 2019, Hispanic and Latino gay and bisexual men accounted for most new HIV diagnoses. Additionally, per CDC’s preliminary data on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) coverage, Hispanic and Latinx communities don’t benefit as well from PrEP. The data shows that only 24% of Hispanic/Latinx people who could benefit have been prescribed PrEP.
OIDP is committed to supporting Hispanic and Latinx communities and all racial and ethnic groups disproportionately impacted by HIV. We are excited to continue this commitment, and these events are encouraging factors in our work toward ending the HIV epidemic for all communities.