North Carolina Campaign Aims To Boost HIV/AIDS Awareness

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A new initiative launchedWednesday to raise HIV/AIDS awareness among Hispanics in North Carolina, the Raleigh News & Observer reports. Some state healthofficials were concerned that similar initiatives were not successful in thepast, and the new effort "aims to address the gaps where publicinformation campaigns about HIV and AIDS have fallen short," according tothe News & Observer.

Hispanics represent 6% of the state's population and 8% of reported HIV casesin 2006, the News & Observer reports. Among Hispanics in North Carolina, thereare 29.8 HIV cases for every 100,000 people, according to a state surveycompleted in July 2007. The state's average is 23.3 HIV cases per 100,000people.

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The new effort will be statewide and involve many agencies. It aims to boostHIV testing and will use bilingual educational campaigns, such asSpanish-language public service announcements on local Univision affiliates. Inaddition, the initiative will feature no-cost HIV testing at Hispanic communityfestivals.

According to Jesus Felizzola, who is coordinating the initiative, manyHispanics seek treatment for HIV only after the disease has progressedsignificantly, in part because they are unaware of available public medicalservices. Some might not seek treatment at all because of concerns about theirimmigration status, Felizzola said. He added, "We need the Latinocommunity to understand the complexity and extent of this epidemic."

Yvonne Torres, HIV/STD program manager for Wake County Human Services, said, "The Latino community is not afraid to get tested. Wherethey have difficulty sometimes is in accessing services where someoneunderstands their language" (Perez, RaleighNews & Observer, 1/24).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Weekly HealthDisparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of TheHenry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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