On National Latino AIDS Awareness Day, Menendez Calls to Action for Raising Awareness and Committing to HIV/AIDS Prevention

On National Latino AIDS Awareness Day, Menendez Calls to Action for Raising Awareness and Committing to HIV/AIDS Prevention

NEWARK, NJ- U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman of the Senate Democratic Hispanic Task Force, released the following statement in honor of National Latino AIDS Awareness Day. Menendez highlighted the importance of early testing, culturally-appropriate prevention efforts and education initiatives to combat the HIV/AIDS crisis that disproportionately impacts the Hispanic community and other minority groups in the United States.

"On this National Latino Aids Awareness Day, let us honor the lives lost to HIV/AIDS by mobilizing our community to come together and take action in combating the continuing and disproportionate effects that HIV/AIDS has on Hispanic-Americans. As we continue fighting to put an end to this pandemic, we must keep shining a light on this issue to protect the health of all members of our community by education about prevention, encouraging early testing, raising public awareness, and having ongoing and open dialogues that can decrease the stigma and many barriers associated with HIV/AIDS."

Celebrated on the last day of Hispanic Heritage month, October 15th, theNational Latino AIDS Awareness Daywas established in 2003 in response to the disproportionate impact HIV/AIDS was having in Hispanic communities nationwide in an effort to create greater awareness of the disease, promote early HIV testing, and create a network of community based organizations, groups, and services to better serve communities.

According to recent data released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, while Latinos comprise 17 percent of the U.S. population, they account for an estimate 19 percent of people living with HIV and an estimated 21 percent of new infections diagnosed in the United States each year. New HIV infections among Latino men is nearly three times that of non-Hispanic white men. Among Latinas, the rate is even higher with more than four times that of white non-Hispanic women. In New Jersey, Latinos make up nearly 19 percent of the state population, but represent 25 percent of all New Jersey residents living with HIV/AIDS. An estimated 1 in 36 Hispanic/Latino men and 1 in 106 Hispanic/Latina will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime.

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