Georgia health officials have launched a new bilingual initiative that aims to increase HIV/AIDS awareness in the state’s Hispanic community and educate residents about HIV prevention and testing, the McClatchy-Tribune/Chattanooga Times Free Press reports.
The “VOICES” campaign, which is supported by CDC, stands for Video Opportunities for Innovative Condom Education and Safer Sex, Amy Holcombe, district HIV prevention coordinator for the North Georgia Health District, said.
In the U.S. in 2002, AIDS-related illnesses were the main cause of death among Hispanic men ages 35 to 44 and the fourth leading cause of death among Hispanic women in the same age group, according to CDC.
America Gruner, director for Promotoras de Salud, a local Hispanic outreach program of the NGHD, said the group already has helped encourage Hispanics to receive HIV tests.
“What we do because this is an issue that Latinos are not used to discussing, we hand out information at the parks and churches,” Gruner said, adding, “We have seen a lot of positive feedback, and most times people are willing to take the exam.”
Hispanics, who make up 14% of the U.S. population, account for 19% of HIV cases in the U.S., according to CDC (Gonzalez, McClatchy-Tribune/Chattanooga Times Free Press, 10/18).
Revision date: July 5, 2011
Last revised: by Janet A. Staessen, MD, PhD