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Health officials address HIV epidemic among Latinos

Health officials address HIV epidemic among Latinos

Nearly 400 people attended the United States' first national conference on Latinos and AIDS that was held in Philadelphia this week, noting that the disease is hitting Latinos disproportionately hard, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Latinos account for 13% of the U.S. population but make up 19% of the estimated 40,000 annual HIV infections in the country. One significant problem in the Latino community leading to the spread of HIV are men who have sex with other men but identify as heterosexual and have girlfriends and wives, who they put at risk for HIV infection, says David Lopez of New York's AIDS Service Center. He also says that too many Latinos think of HIV disease as a chronic condition that can be managed like diabetes. "It's nothing like diabetes," he told the Inquirer. Cynthia A. Gomez calls for an end to the AIDS-related stigma in the Latino community, which keeps at-risk men and women from talking openly about AIDS.

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