October 15 Marks Seventh Annual National Latino AIDS Awareness Day in Michigan

Contact: James McCurtis, Jr. (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

October 15, 2009 LANSING - The Michigan Department of Community Health recognizes Oct. 15 as the seventh annual National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD) in Michigan. The national theme for this year's Latino AIDS Awareness Day is "United we can: Stop HIV and prevent AIDS. Para detener el VIH y prevenir el SIDA: Unidos Podemos." National Latino AIDS Awareness Day is observed on the final day of Hispanic Heritage Month.

In Michigan, Hispanics are disproportionately represented in this epidemic. As of July 2009, Hispanics have a prevalence rate of 142 per 100,000 compared to 63 per 100,000 for whites. Seven counties in Michigan have a prevalence rate for Hispanics higher than the overall statewide rate of 140.5 per 100,000: Berrien (179.4); Genesee (161.7); Ingham (183.3); Kent (177.6); Oakland (155.6); Washtenaw (178.4); and Wayne (198.6). These rates are higher than last year and are cause for grave concern.

"Each year on National Latino AIDS Awareness Day, we reaffirm our commitment to improve the health and well-being of Michigan's Latino communities, and to ensuring that prevention and care are culturally and linguistically appropriate," said Amna Osman, director of the Division of Health, Wellness, and Disease Control. "The Latino community continues to face challenging issues in their fight against HIV/AIDS, such as stigma, lack of access to adequate preventive care, and high poverty levels. Prevention education along with encouraging realistic lifestyle and behavioral changes are still our best weapons to eradicate this disease."

Activities planned encourage those at risk to get tested, and include bi-lingual HIV counseling and testing; distribution of bi-lingual HIV prevention materials, display tables and state and local proclamations. Reynaldo Magdaleno of City Connect Detroit serves as the chair of the Latino AIDS Advisory Committee.

For more information regarding Michigan NLAAD events, please contact the HIV/AIDS hotline at 1-800-872-AIDS.