Hispanics Suffer Growing Rates of HIV/AIDS

Chattanooga Times, March 8, 2008

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Of the rates of diagnoses for adults and adolescents in all racial and ethnic groups in 2005, the highest rate was for blacks, with 68.7 cases per 100,000 people, followed by Hispanics, with 24 cases per 100,000 people, according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Tom Rucci, AIDS outreach coordinator with the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department, said Hispanics account for 2 percent of the total HIV/AIDS cases in the county.

“The number is small but is still alarming given the fact that we need to do more testing, and this population is less likely to be tested, and if positive, less likely to seek treatment,” he said.

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Nationwide, Hispanics made up 16 percent of all HIV/AIDS cases in 2005, while they were 13 percent of the population, the CDC fact sheet on HIV/AIDS among Hispanics stated.

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At the national level in 2005 Hispanics accounted for 19 percent of the 40,608 new diagnoses, Mr. Rucci said.

Barriers to prevention

According to local experts and the CDC, HIV/AIDS is a serious threat to the Hispanic and black communities in part because of the challenges of accessing health care, prevention services, HIV treatment and the taboo against the disease.

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[Mr. Rucci] added that Hispanics have an additional concern if they are undocumented because they fear they will be deported if they seek treatment.

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In Hamilton County 33 percent of the HIV cases are women, 11 percentage points greater than the 22 percent overall rate of infection for women, Mr. Rucci said.

Reaching out

The key point to decreasing the high numbers among Hispanics and blacks, Mr. Rucci said, is to build relationships with the community and have better collaboration with churches and local groups.

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Monday, March 10, 2008 is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD). The HIV/AIDS epidemic is a health crisis for women and girls around the world.

HIV/AIDS in 2005

* Of 40,608 AIDS diagnoses in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, 10,774 (26%) were for women [1].

* The rate of AIDS diagnosis for black women (45.5/100,000 women) was approximately 23 times the rate for white women (2.0/100,000) and 4 times the rate for Hispanic women (11.2/100,000) [1].

* An estimated 95,959 women were living with AIDS, representing 23% of the estimated 421,873 people living with AIDS in the 50 states and the District of Columbia [1].

* An estimated 4,128 women with AIDS died, representing 25% of the 16,316 persons with AIDS who died in the 50 states and the District of Columbia [1].

* From the beginning of the epidemic (1981) through 2005, women accounted for 181,802 diagnoses, a number that represents 19% of the 952,629 AIDS diagnoses in the 50 states and the District of Columbia during this period [1].

* From the beginning of the epidemic through 2005, an estimated 85,844 women with AIDS died, accounting for 16% of the 530,756 persons with AIDS who died in the 50 states and the District of Columbia [1].

* Women with AIDS made up an increasing part of the epidemic. In 1992, women accounted for an estimated 14% of adults and adolescents living with AIDS in the 50 states and the District of Columbia [2]. By the end of 2005, this proportion had grown to 23% [1].

* Data from the 2005 census show that together, black and Hispanic women represent 24% of all US women [3]. However, women in these 2 groups accounted for 82% (8,807/10,774) of the estimated total of AIDS diagnoses for women in 2005 [1].

Data References:

1. CDC. HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, 2005. Vol. 17. Rev ed. Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC: 2007:1—46. Accessed June 28, 2007.

2. CDC. HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report 1998;10(No. 2): 1—43.Accessed March 1, 2007.

3. CDC. National Center for Health Statistics. Bridged-race vintage 2005 postcensal population estimates for July 1, 2000—July 2005, by year, county, single-year age, bridged-race, Hispanic origin, and sex. Available at

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/about/major/dvs/popbridge/datadoc.htm#vintage2005. Accessed March 1, 2007.

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