HIV/AIDS On The Rise Among Dallas Hispanics

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Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) is reporting that the number of Hispanics living with HIV/AIDS in the in the Dallas Eligible Metropolitan Area (EMA) rose from 1,497 cases in 2002 to 2,342 cases in 2006 representing a 57% increase over the four year time span. The Dallas EMA includes Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Henderson, Hunt, Kaufman, and Rockwall counties.

Even more troubling is the rapid rate of the progression of the disease from positive HIV status to a diagnosis of AIDS. Between 2002 and 2006, nearly 33% of Hispanics had both diagnoses within one month compared to 25% and 22% of diagnoses among blacks and whites, respectively. This disparity was maintained at the one year mark, with 42% of Hispanics receiving an AIDS diagnosis within one year of initial HIV diagnosis. This is attributed to late diagnosis of the disease in the Hispanic community.

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“Since the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the rate of AIDS diagnosis for Hispanics/Latinos has continuously increased at disproportionate rates,” said Zachary Thompson, DCHHS Director. “The rate of progression of the disease among our own Hispanic community underscores the need for early testing. We encourage everyone to know your status by getting tested, getting treated and getting educated about HIV/AIDS in order to stop the devastation to our communities,” Thompson continued.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Hispanics represented approximately 18% of the people living with HIV/AIDS nationwide. Of that 18% of Hispanic/Latinos living with HIV/AIDS, 23.6% were Hispanic/Latino female adults and adolescents, and 74.8% were Hispanic/Latino male adults and adolescents, living with HIV/AIDS. Of the reported AIDS cases for Hispanic/Latino male adults and adolescents, male-to-male sexual contact was the highest transmission category at 43%. Injection drug use came in second at 32%. For Hispanic/Latino women adults and adolescents the reported AIDS cases indicated that high-risk heterosexual contact (sexual intercourse) was the highest transmission category at 49% followed by Injection Drug Use at 36%.

As of May 2008, there are 5,775 Dallas County residents living with HIV, of these 874 are Hispanic. Approximately 7,666 Dallas County residents are currently living with AIDS; with 1374 of these persons being Hispanic. January-June 2008 Hispanics represent 16% of cases in Dallas County with HIV diagnosis and 28% of cases with AIDS.

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