HIV Testing In Spanish-Speaking Communities Promoted
For people living with HIV infection, the longer the delay between infection and diagnosis means missed opportunities for treatment and care that can prevent illness and death.
Within King County, Latinos are 89% more likely to receive a delayed HIV diagnosis than whites.
This month, to promote HIV testing and decrease delays in Latinos knowing their HIV status, Public Health- Seattle & King County's HIV/AIDS Program is launching a Spanish-language television and radio campaign called "Get Tested."
"Everyone needs reliable information about HIV to protect their health," said Dr. David Fleming, Director and Health Officer for Public Health - Seattle & King County. "This media campaign is an important way to reach Spanish speakers who may not have access to information about the importance of getting tested for HIV."
The goal of the campaign is to inform the growing Latino population in King County about the availability of affordable, confidential and anonymous HIV testing resources and increase HIV testing among community members. Individuals are encouraged to call the HIV/STD Information Hotline for specific testing information at 206-205-7837 or to access the HIV/AIDS Program Spanish website, www.SabiaUd.org. The television and radio spots can also be seen and heard at this website.
"HIV testing continues to be one of the best ways to prevent the spread of disease, because no one who learns they are infected wants to spread this virus," said Dr. Bob Wood, Director of HIV/AIDS Control for Public Health - Seattle & King County. "By receiving a diagnosis before the disease progresses to AIDS, individuals can receive treatment to increase their years of good health."
Approximately one-fourth of people with HIV are believed to be unaware of their infection, underscoring the importance of reaching at-risk communities with testing services. Locally, Latinos have the second highest rate of HIV infection of any ethnic or racial group.
This campaign is collaboration between local partners and Public Health to address a critical health need in the Latino community. A 2004 HIV prevention community needs assessment identified television and radio education campaigns for the Spanish-speaking community as a priority. Through collaboration with members of a Latino providers group, and working with Picante Solutions, a Hispanic marketing firm, the "Get Tested" television and radio campaign was created.