There are few subjects I cannot relate to if they have to do with shame, fear and coming out of the closet about who you are. AIDS and HIV are very delicate subjects nobody wants to own up to, but doing so is important to offer those who suffer the disease in silence some hope, and send the message that it is possible to survive and live prosperous and happy lives. Speaking up and sharing your personal story might save many lives by raising awareness to prevent further spread of the disease, and most importantly to eliminate de stigma especially in the Latino community.
How HIV and AIDS affects the Latino community
HIV affects Hispanics/Latinos in the US disproportionately. This segment accounts for 19% of the 1.1 million people living with HIV in the US and 21% of new HIV infections each year. If this trend continues it is estimated that 1 in 36 Hispanic/Latino males and 1 in every 106 Hispanic/Latina females will be diagnosed with HIV at some point in their lives. Sounds scary? It is! And yes, it could happen to you. Or for that matter, to me!
The stigma and fear of being open about HIV are making the Latino population more vulnerable to contracting the disease.
We can help raise awareness by making it personal and telling our stories in English or Spanish, to encourage Latinos to start a conversation at home.
Let’s not wait to react to HIV when it hits. Let’s instead look at the stats and realize it actually could very well happen to us. Don’t just take my word for it and check out the campaign to stop HIV One Conversation at a Time. Share it with your friends in Spanish: Podemos detener el VIH una conversación a la vez. By speaking up and uniting our voices, we can do so much! Sometimes I wonder whether my friend would have survived with all the medical advances today. And for him, I speak up.
What you can do to raise awareness
Help spread the word by sharing your story of HIV/AIDS to prevent further spread. Follow the hashtag on Twitter to start #OneConversation, #UnaConversacion.
This post is made possible with support from the We Can Stop HIV One Conversation at a Time campaign. All opinions are my own.
Read the whole article at VIVAFIFTY.COM