Each year, National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day promotes HIV testing, prevention, and treatment in Latinx communities. HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks the immune system – the part of the body that fights disease. HIV infection can eventually lead to AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). In Boston, there were 5,920 residents living with HIV in 2017, among them a disproportionate number were Latinx/Hispanic. One in seven people living with HIV do not know that they have it.
BPHC is proud to join The Latino Commission on AIDS (LCOA) , the Hispanic Federation and other organizations in using this day to build capacity for non-profit organizations and health departments to reach Latino/Hispanic communities, promote HIV testing, and provide HIV prevention information and access to care. This year's theme is "Living with HIV or not…. we're fighting this together."
- Never share syringes or works to inject drugs (for example, cookers).
- Use condoms correctly every time you have vaginal or anal sex.
- Limit your number of sex partners.
- Use Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP); a medication that is highly effective for preventing HIV infection when taken daily.
If you have been exposed to HIV, talk to your provider about Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP). PEP can be used in emergencies to reduce the risk of adcquiring HIV but must be started within 72 hours of exposure.
The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control recommends that everyone between 13 and 64 years old get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. High risk groups like men who have sex with men (MSM) should get tested at least once per year. It is also recommended that you be tested for HIV every time to have a new sex partner.
There is no cure for HIV. However, there have been tremendous advancements in treatment. Today, antiretroviral therapy (ART) can keep HIV-positive people healthy for many years. This treatment decreases the amount of the virus in the body. If you are HIV positive, talk to your healthcare provider about ART.
BPHC provides information about HIV in multiple languages including Spanish, English, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Portuguese and Vietnamese. For more information, visit www.bphc.org/HIV.