Texas Hispanic HIV/AIDS Cases Increasing; Cultural Language Barriers Affecting Outreach

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Wed Sep 17 14:35:29 UTC 2008

  Texas Hispanic HIV/AIDS Cases Increasing; Cultural Language Barriers
Affecting Outreach

« Texas Hispanic HIV/AIDS Cases Increasing; Cultural Language Barriers
Affecting Outreach

HIV is being detected in Texas Hispanics at later stages than in other
ethnic groups in the state, which increases their risk of spreading
the virus and delaying treatment, the Dallas Morning News reports.
There are more than 8,000 Hispanics living with AIDS in Texas, which
has the largest recent influx of new Hispanic immigrants in the

Thirty-two percent of HIV-positive Hispanics in the state are
diagnosed with AIDS within 30 days after testing positive for HIV,
compared with 24% of both HIV-positive blacks and whites. "This is a
pretty significant difference," Sharon Melville, manager of the Texas
HIV/STD Epidemiology and Surveillance Branch, said. "It's troubling.
They are getting into care late and not getting diagnosed as early and
we need to pay attention to that," she added.

According to the Morning News, there are a number of challenges in
addressing HIV/AIDS among Hispanics in the U.S., including language
barriers, limited access to health care, legal issues and cultural
differences. Guillermo Chacon, vice president of the Latino Commission
on AIDS, said a culture of silence, particularly among men who have
sex with men, coupled with the failure of government agencies to
address the issue, contributes to the growing number of cases among
the group. AIDS activists contend that a cultural emphasis on
masculinity and privacy double the stigma against MSM.

Chacon called for more bilingual outreach efforts and services for the
Hispanic community. His agency recently released policy
recommendations that seek to improve HIV/AIDS treatment access and
raise awareness (Meyers, Dallas Morning News, 8/8).

Reprinted with kind permission from http://www.kaisernetwork.org. You
can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the
archives, or sign up for email delivery at
http://www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/healthpolicy. The Kaiser
Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free
service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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