HIV continues to be a serious threat to the health of Latinos. In 2015, Latinos made up about one quarter of all new cases of HIV in the United States; despite only making up 18% of the total US population. There has also been a rise of HIV cases among Latino men who have sex with men (MSM).
There are many factors that may contribute to these high numbers. Latinos may not seek testing, counseling or treatment (if infected) because of stigma. If people do not know their HIV status, they will continue to spread the infection to others. Some Latinos who know they are infected may not seek treatment because they fear how people will treat them. Cultural norms and homophobia also create a barrier for some people to access HIV prevention services. In addition, undocumented Latinos may be less likely to use HIV prevention services because of concerns about being arrested and deported.
It may not always be easy to talk about HIV but talking openly about HIV will help to protect the health of every member of the community. Learn the facts about HIV! Help increase HIV awareness to decrease the stigma and shame that are too often associated with this infection!
Protect yourself from HIV!
- Always use a latex, nitrile or polyurethane condom or barrier (dental dam) when having sex (vaginal, oral, or anal).
- Condoms made from "natural" materials may protect against pregnancy but NOT HIV or other STIs.
- Limit your number of sex partners.
- Talk with your partner about their status and getting tested.
- Talk with your health care provider about safer sex practices and getting tested.
- Understand that having sex while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol can increase the likelihood of unprotected sex.
- Do not share needles or "works" if you are injecting drugs.
Get tested, protect yourself!
- Anyone who has had sex (anal, oral or vaginal) should be tested for HIV at least once.
- People that should be tested more often (at least once a year) include:
- People who do not use condoms every time they have sex
- Men who have sex with men (MSM)
- People with multiple sex partners
- People with sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- People who inject drugs
- You should also be tested for HIV if you have been sexually assaulted or if you are a woman who is pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
Talk to your healthcare provider about getting tested! There are also several free and confidential testing centers in Boston. To find a testing center near you, call the Mayor's Health Line at 617-534-5050 or visit https://gettested.cdc.gov/search_results.