Wednesday, 15 October 2014

A letter from Bruce Goldstein, President of Farmworker Justice:

Today marks the eleventh anniversary of National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD). Launched by the Latino Commission on AIDS and the Hispanic Federation, the NLAAD campaign fosters community mobilization and collaboration among Latino serving organizations to raise HIV awareness nationwide. The theme for 2014 is “To End AIDS, Commit to ACT” or “Para Acabar con el SIDA, Comprometete a Actuar”.

Population-based data on HIV/AIDS and farmworkers remains limited; however, from our work and from the statistics collected on Latinos in the United States we know that HIV remains a serious health concern for migrant and seasonal farmworkers. Farmworkers are particularly vulnerable to poverty, sub-standard housing, and social isolation. These factors, in addition to language barriers and limited access to culturally sensitive health care, put farmworkers at significant risk for contracting HIV. It is imperative that the impact of HIV/AIDS in the farmworker community not be overlooked, and that adequate and appropriate prevention, treatment, and care programs are implemented.

Farmworker Justice has been acting to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in farmworker communities since 1998. We have supported the HIV programs of farmworker and Latino serving organizations situated throughout the U.S. by providing community mobilization trainings, educational tools and capacity building assistance. Our commitment was further strengthened in 2011 when the Farmworker Justice Board of Directors signed a resolution stating that HIV was a priority for our organization. As President of Farmworker Justice, I feel we play an important role in HIV prevention in the farmworker community by not only educating and training farmworker health organizations, but also increasing the awareness and involvement of non-HIV organizations in order to reach as many farmworkers and rural Latinos as possible. As a partner in the Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative, we have been working together with other national civil rights organizations, both Latino and African American, to decrease the stigma and misconceptions of HIV in all our communities.

Farmworker Justice is proud to continue in our commitment to end the AIDS epidemic and as President, I encourage all of our partners, supporters and friends to “commit to act” with us in honor of NLAAD and throughout the year.

by Bruce Goldstein
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Friday, 26 September 2014

Farmworker Justice invites all of our partners to actively join in observing National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day this Saturday, September 27th.
In the United States the gay and bisexual community continues to be disproportionately burdened by the AIDS epidemic.

The CDC reports gay and bisexual men, as well as other men who have sex with men (MSM), comprise approximately 2 percent of the U.S. population yet accounted for 62 percent of the nearly 50,000 new HIV diagnoses in 2011.

Latino men who have sex with men face significant risk for HIV. In 2011, men accounted for 84 percent of new diagnoses within the Latino community, and of these infections 79 percent were attributed to male-to-male sexual contact. An estimated 1 in 36 Latino men will be diagnosed with HIV during their lifetime. Among Latino gay and bisexual men, the majority of new infections are occurring in young adults between the ages of 25 and 34 years.

HIV risk is further exacerbated by the homophobia, stigma and discrimination that continues to be perpetuated against the gay and bisexual community, in particular towards men of color. Latino men who have sex with men are particularly vulnerable to racial stigma and discrimination within the Latino community, as well as from the broader gay and bisexual community, which in turn lends to increased social isolation and consequent negative health outcomes. Without support of family, friends and their community, Latino gay and bisexual men are less likely to openly discuss and practice HIV prevention behaviors or to get tested. 

We can all play a part in putting an end to the AIDS epidemic by taking the time to learn about HIV in the gay and bisexual community, and taking a stand to stop stigma and discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Start today by getting more information:

  • Razones/Reasons: The CDC’s HIV prevention campaign targeting Latino gay and bisexual men.
  • Sin Vergüenza/Without Shame: A telenovela series produced by AltaMed, which tells the story of a family in which each member is susceptible for HIV, and highlights the importance of being honest and getting tested.
  •  Find a testing site near you! 

Farmworker Justice has partnered with CDC's Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative (AAALI), a multi-year national communication initiative to reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS among diverse communities.

by Caitlin Ruppel
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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Today, September 18th, marks National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day, a campaign initiated by the AIDS Institute seven years ago. The theme for this year is “Aging is a part of life: HIV doesn’t have to be!”

The CDC estimates that there are 1.1 million people currently living with HIV in the United States, and of these individuals, 1 in 6 are unaware of their positive status. Minority populations continue to be disproportionately burdened by HIV/AIDS, in particular the Latino community.

Although Hispanics represent 16 percent of the U.S. population, they account for an estimated 21 percent of new HIV infections each year and approximately 19 percent of individuals living with HIV in the United States. It is anticipated that 1 in 50 Latinos will be diagnosed with HIV during their lifetime.

Resources available for HIV prevention campaigns and interventions are frequently targeted towards youth and young adults. These segments of the population warrant unique attention and education about prevention, care and treatment; however, it is equally important to acknowledge the reality that HIV infection remains a risk regardless of one’s age, gender, race or ethnicity.

In 2010 the CDC found that adults over the age of 55 years accounted for approximately one-fifth of the U.S. population living with HIV. Of the 47,500 new infections which occurred that year, Latino men and women accounted for 16 percent.

The importance of communication regarding HIV cannot be sufficiently emphasized, particularly inter-generational dialogue. Older adults experience many of the same risk factors as young adults and youth, such as: stigma and discrimination, engaging in higher risk sexual behaviors, and a lack of access to information and culturally sensitive care.

Engaging in conversation about HIV/AIDS diminishes stigma, and correlates with increased knowledge and practice of preventive behaviors such as increased condom use and more frequent testing. These factors are all associated with reduced rates of HIV transmission and consequently fewer infections across all age groups.

To encourage Hispanics/Latinos to speak openly with their families, friends, partners and communities about HIV/AIDS, the CDC recently launched a national communication campaign titled Podemos Detener el VIH Una Conversación a la Vez/We Can Stop HIV One Conversation at a Time. A variety of resources are available for use via the CDC Act Against AIDS campaign webpage. These include but are not limited to: posters, brochures and Public Service Announcements (PSA) which highlight important facts and messages about HIV/AIDS.

Farmworker Justice is proud to participate in this campaign, and to collaborate with our Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative partners, National Hispanic Council on Aging and Aspira, to engage in and promote conversation about HIV/AIDS amongst Latino adults ages 50 and over.

by Caitlin Ruppel
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