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Taboo About HIV/AIDS In Hispanic Community

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

"With the threat of so many deadly diseases out there, AIDS awareness seems to have taken a backseat," Maria Salinas, a television anchor at Noticiero Univision, writes in a Fresno Bee opinion piece, adding, "We have seen an increase in campaigns to educate people on the threat of heart disease, cancer and diabetes, among others, but AIDS continues to be the unmentionable disease."

HIV/AIDS is a particularly taboo topic among Hispanics, who according to CDC "are disproportionately affected by the HIV virus," Salinas writes. Hispanics are the second most at risk ethnic group, and although they account for 15% of the population, Hispanics represented 19% of AIDS diagnoses in 2006, according to Salinas.

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"There certainly is a cultural component to this," Salinas writes, adding, "Because it is a disease that is linked to drug use, sex and homosexuality, it is just not talked about in socially conservative [Hispanic] families" and as a result, Hispanics do not get tested as often as other groups.

She continues, "Yet so many lives could be saved if people realized that taking a test to determine possible exposure to [HIV] is nothing to be ashamed of. It is, in fact, an act of courage," concluding, "But risking your life and that of others is not" (Salinas, Fresno Bee, 12/1).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.