Hispanics Contract HIV Through Different Transmission Routes Based On Birthplace

Armen Hareyan's picture

HIV-positive Hispanics living in the U.S. contract the virus throughdifferent transmission routes primarily based on where they were born,according to a study published Thursday in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Reuters reports.

Accordingto the study, male-to-male sexual contact was the transmission routefor 65% of HIV cases among Hispanic men who were born in South America,62% of cases among men born in Cuba, 54% of cases among men born inMexico and 46% of cases among men born in the U.S. About 28% ofHIV-positive Hispanics who were born in the U.S. contracted the virusthrough high-risk heterosexual sex, compared with 47% who were born inthe Dominican Republic and 45% who were born in Central America, thestudy found. In addition, 33% of Hispanics living with HIV who wereborn in Puerto Rico contracted the virus through injection drug use,compared with 22% who were born in the U.S. The study found lessknowledge about HIV/AIDS among injection drug users born in Cuba,Mexico and Puerto Rico than among IDUs born in the U.S.

Thestudy also found that HIV diagnoses decreased by 4.7% and 13% amongHispanic men and women, respectively, from 2001 to 2004. The study wasbased on data provided by 33 states in 2005, Reuters reports.


Thedifferences in HIV transmission routes among Hispanics in part isbecause of cultural and socioeconomic differences among Hispanicsubgroups, including stigma associated with homosexuality, the studysaid. Hispanics have the second-highest HIV rate among all racial andethnic groups in the U.S. after blacks, the study noted.

KenDominguez, a CDC epidemiologist and study author, said, "In terms ofthe prevention messages, if you are looking at Hispanics, you can'tlook upon them as a monolithic group," adding, "You have to think aboutthe various subcategories." Dennis deLeon, president of the NewYork-based Latino Commission on AIDS,said Hispanics are diverse in the amount of time they have lived in theU.S., as well as in levels of education and health literacy. He addedthat CDC "for too long" has been "treating" Hispanics as "all the same."

DeLeonalso questioned the decrease in HIV diagnoses among Hispanics becausethe report did not include data from some states with large Hispanicpopulations, such as California (Dunham, Reuters, 10/11).

Several advocacy groups on Oct. 15 will host the National Latino AIDS Awareness Day in an effort to increase HIV awareness and testing among Hispanics, the Orlando Sentinel reports (Ramos, Orlando Sentinel, 10/12).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser DailyHIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . TheKaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service ofThe Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.