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.