Hispanic, Black Men More Likely To Contract HIV From Drug Use
Hispanic and black men are more likely than others to becomeHIV-positive through injection drug use and other risky behaviorsrelated to any type of drug use, Rhonda Hagler, medical director of theNew Jersey-based HIV/AIDS clinic Proceed, told participants at the 2007 National Conference on Latinos and AIDS on Monday, the Miami Heraldreports. Hagler said, "Drugs, whether you inject them, inhale them ortake them orally, alter your judgment and put you at risk for HIV."
According to a 2004 CDCsurvey, Hispanic and black men are nearly three times as likely aswhite non-Hispanic men and nearly twice as likely as Asian-Americans tocontract the virus from sharing needles.
Hispanic and blackwomen, on the other hand, are less likely than white non-Hispanic andAsian women to become HIV-positive through injection drug use. Inaddition, Hispanics are 43% more likely to be diagnosed with HIV/AIDSduring the disease's late stages, compared with 37% of non-Hispanicwhites, according to a 2006 CDC report. The report also found that 45%of Hispanics have been tested for HIV/AIDS, compared with 54% ofnon-Hispanic whites.
Jose Moreno, professor of medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said in a Heraldinterview, "My patients with HIV have a higher viral load becausethey've been infected for a long time and don't have the resources tosee a doctor." He added, "Some of them may be illegal, and they'reafraid of being deported."
Hagler said that HIV-positiveindividuals who use drugs have higher suicide rates; a quickerprogression from HIV to AIDS; and complications from combiningprescription drugs with illegal substances (Tasker, Miami Herald, 7/31).
Additional Conference Information
The conference aims to increase HIV/AIDS awareness among Hispanics andincludes presentations from local and national health officials aboutprevention, statistics and overall impact of federal and state policy (Miami Herald,7/30). Over two days, conference participants are expected to discussHispanics' lack of access to medical care and undocumented immigrants'awareness of HIV/AIDS (Miami Herald, 7/29). Actress RosiePerez spoke at the conference Monday, saying, "We get tired andfrustrated from the apathy there is on this subject," adding, "We mustre-commit every morning. We're brothers and sisters in this fight" (Miami Herald, 7/31).
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