June 27 marks National HIV Testing Day. This annual awareness day provides an opportunity to recognize the value of knowing your HIV status and to encourage others within your community to get tested.
In the United States, approximately 50,000 people become newly infected with HIV each year. Among the estimated 1.2 million people living with HIV in the US, one in seven is not aware of their positive status. Routine testing is vital to stopping the spread of HIV and saving lives. Individuals diagnosed in the early stages of their HIV infection that begin treatment and remain in care are significantly more likely to successfully control their viral count. Consequently, they are able to experience healthier, longer lives. Furthermore, HIV positive individuals who know their status are more likely to take preventive actions to protect their partners from infection.
Why is this important to farmworker and Latino serving organizations and supporters?
Latinos communities in the U.S. are disproportionately burdened by HIV/AIDS. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2010 Latinos comprised approximately 16 percent of the U.S. population yet accounted for 21 percent of all new HIV infections. Many Latinos, farmworkers, and other rural or mobile populations experience barriers to accessing HIV prevention, treatment and care services. For example, they may have a difficult time finding a testing location, getting to the testing location, receiving HIV testing and counseling services in their native language, accessing medication, or being able to adhere to their HIV medication regiment. As organizations interested in improving the lives and health outcomes of Latinos and farmworkers, it is imperative that we be aware of these persisting challenges and the steps we can take to empower our communities to access HIV prevention, treatment and care.
Farmworker Justice is a proud partner of the CDC’s Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative (AAALI), through which we provide education and assistance to organizations interested in increasing HIV awareness, knowledge and action among Latino and farmworker communities.
As part of our AAALI work, FJ is offering free informational packets to interested organizations in anticipation of National HIV Testing Day. Each packet includes a variety of materials which may be easily disseminated to your community members such as fact sheets, posters and palm cards. Materials are available in English and Spanish. Packet availability is limited. Please email Caitlin Ruppel ([email protected]) for more information and to request materials.
We encourage you to participate in National HIV Testing Day, by:
• Getting Tested! Find a testing location near you and tell your family and friends
• Receiving updates via twitter or Facebook
• Learning more about the epidemic and how to get involved in raising awareness