Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Call for Unity to Address HIV/AIDS among All Gay Males

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the National Latino AIDS Action Network (NLAAN) recognizes the fourth annual National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NGMHAAD). This day serves as a call to action for the urgent need to refocus attention on a community that has long been and continues to be disproportionately impacted by the HIV epidemic in the United States and around the world.

Data released in the peer-reviewed journal last month confirm that HIV incidence among gay men remains high, many HIV-infected gay men are unaware of their status, and minorities continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV. The CDC estimates 48,100 new infections occurred in the U.S. in 2009, with gay and bisexual men remaining the population most severely impacted by HIV and the only population in which new HIV infections have been increasing steadily since the 1990s. Furthermore, NLAAN continues to be alarmed by the new estimates which identify Latino gay men as moving from the fourth to third most impacted population.

"Last month’s release of new HIV incidence estimates clearly indicates that our nation needs to reexamine and better understand the landscape of the HIV/AIDS epidemics among gay and bisexual men,” stated Patricia Canessa, Executive Director of Salud Latina and NLAAN Leadership Committee member. “Despite living in times of limited resources, we must strategically scale-up efforts that holistically address and support the lives of gay and bisexual men. We must view this time as an opportunity to have targeted discussions on the local impacts of prevention investments and how to maximize what we preserve to generate the most beneficial outcomes for gay men,” she further stated.

“We have a wealth of research that proves that treatment works to control HIV and that by diagnosing people earlier in their disease they have a stronger chance of living long, healthy lives,” noted Sergio Farfan, Co-Founder of the Louisiana Latino Health Coalition for HIV/AIDS Awareness and NLAAN Leadership Committee member. “However, we also know that Latino and Black communities are being diagnosed with AIDS within one year of testing positive due to late testing, low health literacy and lack of consistent health insurance. We must find solutions to change this reality, such as promoting routine HIV testing and timely linkage to and retention in care and treatment,” he concluded.

NLAAN strongly believes that the success of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (the Strategy) depends on the leadership of the community. We must sustain efforts aimed at building partnerships across sectors and racial lines, strengthening capacity of community service providers and enhancing the infrastructure of public health. Only through those efforts can we change the course of the HIV epidemic. We must collectively answer the Strategy’s call for a new era of collaboration and innovation.

“Communities must unite to effectively address HIV/AIDS,” stated Francisco Ruiz, Senior Manager at the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) and co-chair of NLAAN. “The epidemic does not silo itself. It impacts everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, and immigration status. History has proven that the strength of our nation is built on the foundation of diversity and inclusion. Let's make sure our HIV/AIDS efforts are guided by that same vision and that our diversified capabilities are key to a decisive victory over this epidemic,” he added.

Reposted at

ABOUT NLAAN: The National Latino AIDS Action Network (NLAAN) was developed as a response to the HIV/AIDS crisis within Latino/Hispanic communities and is a participatory, collaborative and diverse network of community-based organizations, national organizations, state and local health departments, researchers and concerned individuals that identifies and prioritizes the key needs of Latinos regarding HIV/AIDS prevention, research and care and treatment. For more information on NLAAN, please visit us at or

No comments:

Post a Comment