NEW YORK, June 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD) is a national social marketing campaign that engages the Hispanic/Latino community in HIV awareness and promotes testing, prevention and education. NLAAD takes place annually on October 15th, the last day of Hispanic Heritage Month and was initiated as a response to the HIV/AIDS crisis within Hispanic/Latino communities in the U.S. and its territories. In the past seven years, organizations participating in NLAAD have provided HIV testing to over 70,000 individuals nationwide.
This year's theme – Save a Life, It May be your Own. Get Tested for HIV – speaks to the critical role HIV testing and prevention education plays due to the late testing realities faced by Hispanic/Latino communities. Data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows that Hispanics/Latinos progress to AIDS faster than any other racial or ethnic group with 42% being diagnosed with AIDS within 12 months after learning of their positive HIV status compared to 34% late diagnosis among white non Hispanic and 35% among blacks.
"We believe that personalizing the message of HIV testing and prevention will resonate in our communities. Hispanics/Latinos face so many health challenges including discrimination, language barriers, social stigma, poverty and as of late, tremendous anti-immigration sentiment. Through CENSUS 2010, we are reminded that Hispanic/Latinos are the fastest growing ethnic population and NLAAD's vision is to develop and strengthen healthy communities," stated Guillermo Chacon, President of the Latino Commission on AIDS.
Hispanics/Latinos represent 15.3% of the U.S. population, but account for 22.3% of the new HIV infections in the U.S. including Puerto Rico, according to the CDC. On a national level, this epidemic is nothing short of a public health crisis. NLAAD's strength lies in raising awareness at the national, regional level but also working in the local communities to provide testing and connecting people to care to some of our most vulnerable populations.
NLAAD recognizes the Office of Minority Health and Dr. Garth N. Graham, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health in the Office of Minority Health at the Department of Health and Human Services for their leadership and support.
Nationally you can obtain more information about HIV testing or find a testing location near you by calling the CDC hotline at 1-800-232-4636 or by visiting www.nlaad.org
About NLAAD: National Latino AIDS Awareness Day was developed by the Latino Commission on AIDS and the Hispanic Federation in partnership with community based organizations, people living with HIV/AIDS, state and regional health departments and others. Partnerships with the media, elected officials, civic and religious leaders, foundations, celebrities and the health care system are forged to raise awareness among Latinos in the United States and territories. To find out more about NLAAD visit www.nlaad.org.
SOURCE National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD)