A new report released Thursday by the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors shows that Latinos are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS, but that even so they are less likely than non-Latinos to be tested for HIV antibodies or seek treatment. The report, titled "Addressing HIV/AIDS: Latino Perspectives and Policy Recommendations," was drafted to serve as a guide for state and local AIDS officials to create better HIV prevention and treatment programs for at-risk Latinos.
Latinos make up about 13% of the U.S. population but account for one fifth of all new U.S. HIV cases, according to the report. NASTAD spokesperson Alberto Santana said that poverty, a lack of health insurance, and the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS contribute to the high HIV infection rate and low testing rate among Latinos. To help remedy those problems, the report offers 25 recommendations in six categories, including encouraging the development of Latino leadership and expertise in health departments, and the expansion of public information and awareness campaigns targeted at Latino communities. The report also urges all U.S. health care facilities to offer HIV testing and treatment to Latinos in the country regardless of their immigration status.