ATLANTA, Oct. 14 (UPI) — Hispanics represent approximately 16 percent of the U.S. population and account for about 17 percent of new HIV infections, federal health officials say.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, released Thursday, says 18 percent of people living with HIV are Hispanic. Most are infected with HIV through male-to-male sexual contact, heterosexuals are also at risk, the report says.
Dr. Kevin Fenton of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says studies show a range of factors that may place Hispanics at higher risk — lack of awareness about the risk of HIV infection, cultural and socioeconomic factors like poverty and language barriers, and concerns about immigrations status may prevent individuals from seeking HIV testing and treatment.
“Fear of stigma and discrimination may also represent barriers to HIV prevention and treatment, particularly among gay and bisexual men and people living with HIV. Data released by CDC today underscore harsh truths that all Latinos and Latinas face when it comes to HIV: The lifetime risk of being diagnosed with HIV among Latinos is 1 in 36 for males and 1 in 106 for females,” Fenton says in a statement.
“Clearly, this risk is unacceptable. We cannot allow HIV to gain even more ground in the nation’s fastest growing minority population.”
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