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Saturday, October 15, marks the third annual National Latino AIDS Awareness Day, an annual campaign sponsored by the Latino Commission on AIDS to encourage at-risk individuals to receive voluntary HIV counseling and testing. This year's event has the theme "Open Your Eyes" ("Abre Los Ojos"), aiming to encourage more Latinos to practice safer sex, talk with their sex partners about HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, and learn if they're infected with the virus.
Organizers of the annual event say data showing rising HIV infection rates among Latinos show that increased efforts are needed to reach Latino communities with HIV messages. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20% of U.S. AIDS cases are among Latinos, who account for about 15% of the U.S. population. In California, Latinos account for 43.3% of the state's AIDS cases. AIDS is the sixth leading cause of death among Latinos between the ages of 25 and 34.
For more information about National Latino AIDS Awareness Day or to find events scheduled for your region, go online to www.latinoaids.org/nlaad/2005. (Advocate.com)