Dr. Mark Horton, director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), today urged all Californians to get involved in fighting HIV/AIDS by observing the fifth annual National Latino AIDS Awareness Day.
The theme of this year’s observance, “Wake Up! Take Control! Take the HIV Test,” calls on Latinos to protect their lives and the lives of those they love by getting tested and learning about human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).
“National Latino AIDS Awareness Day is an opportunity to renew our commitment to ending the spread of HIV and build awareness about the effect of this disease on the Latino community,” Horton said. “We must speak frankly about HIV and AIDS and confront the fears and stigma associated with this disease.”
As of Sept. 30, 2007, California had 146,886 cumulative reported AIDS cases, of which 33,759, or 23 percent, were Latinos. In regard to HIV cases, Latinos accounted for 10,713, or 26 percent, of HIV cases reported between July 1, 2002, through April 16, 2006 – the second highest among all racial/ethic groups.
To help address HIV/AIDS prevention needs, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger included a $5.6 million general fund augmentation in his 2007-08 budget to strengthen HIV/AIDS education and prevention programs. In addition, the budget includes funding for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), which provides antiretroviral AIDS drugs at no cost for eligible individuals infected with HIV. California’s ADAP is the largest program in the nation and serves approximately 30,000 HIV-positive individuals, including 10,000 Latinos.
For additional information about National Latino AIDS Awareness Day and scheduled events, please visit www.nlaad.org.
To locate HIV testing services, contact your local health department or the California AIDS Hotline at (800) 367-AIDS (2437) or visit www.AIDShotline.org. To learn more about HIV/AIDS, visit www.dhs.ca.gov/AIDS.