Things That Matter

We Need To Stop Beating Around The Bush When It Comes To This Disease Killing Latinos

@g_and_burrito / Instagram

October 15 is not only the last day of Hispanic Heritage Month, it’s also National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day. The Latinx community is disproportionately affected by HIV and AIDS and it’s time we work to bring that to an end. Here are five facts about HIV and AIDS in the Latinx community that you probably don’t know.

1. A large percentage of Latinxs are affected by HIV and AIDS.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Latinxs made up just about 17 percent of the U.S. population in 2014. However, Latinxs accounted for 24 percent of new HIV and AIDS cases diagnosed in 2014. In numbers, out of 44,784 new HIV and AIDS cases reported in 2014, Latinxs made up 10,887.

2. Young (ages 13 to 24) Latino gay and bisexual men are the most impacted group.

The same report from the CDC says that there has been an 87 percent increase in HIV and AIDS cases reported between 2005 and 2014 (2010 to 2014 saw only a 16 percent increase in new HIV and AIDS cases). Latino men are three times more likely than white men to contract HIV or AIDS. During the same time of 2005 to 2014, Latinas have seen a 35 percent decline in new cases of HIV and AIDS.

3. Machismo is partially to blame for the spread of HIV and AIDS in the Latinx community.

Animation Domination High-Def / GIPHY
CREDIT: Animation Domination High-Def / GIPHY

According to a different study by the CDC, the cultural stigma of homosexuality and being HIV positive can help the spread of HIV and AIDS in the Latinx community. A fear of coming out to family and opening up about risky behavior can drive young LGBTQ Latinx people from seeking treatment or getting tested. The same machismo culture can lead to Latinx men not seeking out way o decrease their risk of contracting HIV, like Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP).

4. The Latinx community has a higher rate of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) than normal.

Yo Meryl / GIPHY
CREDIT: Yo Meryl / GIPHY

The CDC has found that the rate of STDs in the Latinx community is higher than in most races and ethnicities. The same report also finds that having an STD increases a person’s chance of contracting HIV.

5. Men make up 86 percent of all HIV and AIDS cases in the Latinx community.

Animation Domination High-Def / GIPHY
CREDIT: Animation Domination High-Def / GIPHY

It’s time to end the stigma of HIV and LGBTQ in the Latinx community. The more open we are, the better we can make better choices to keep each other safe.

Yo Meryl / GIPHY
CREDIT: Yo Meryl / GIPHY

If you have recently been diagnosed with HIV or AIDS and don’t know what to do, click here to find your state’s HIV and AIDS hotline. You can also call the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 for help.

READ: New York Just Sent The Most Awkward Gift To Puerto Rico, But It’s Actually A Good Thing

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Latina TV Anchor Amanda Salas Throws ‘Buzz Party’ After Cancer Diagnosis And We Applaud Her Bravery

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Latina TV Anchor Amanda Salas Throws ‘Buzz Party’ After Cancer Diagnosis And We Applaud Her Bravery

Entertainment anchor Amanda Salas, of “Good Day L.A,” was recently diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma –– cancer that occurs when cells begin to grow out of control and it starts in the white blood –– but she’s not letting the diagnosis stop her from living life. Since being diagnosed, Salas has started chemotherapy and her hair has begun to fall out so she decided to throw a “buzz party” where she shaved her hair off. 

In a video on Instagram, she posted on highlights from her “Buzz Party,” Salas says that her hair started to fall out after only the first round of chemotherapy. “I felt like everything was just happening so fast,” she adds. “To be able to share this experience with people I love gave me strength and confidence.” 

On July 5, Salas posted a photo on Instagram where she’s seen coming out of a scan and announcing to her followers that she had been diagnosed with NHL. 

“I recently completed my first round of chemotherapy,” Salas writes. “To say the last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind would be an understatement. I have been trying to wrap my head and heart around all this.” 

According to the American Cancer Society, NHL is one of the most common cancers in the U.S., accounting for about 4% of all cancers. 

The latest statistics for 2019 show that about 74,200 people –– 41,090 males and 33,110 females –– will be diagnosed with NFL. This includes both adults and children. According to the American Cancer Society, about 19,970 people will die from this cancer –– 11,510 males and 8,460 females. 

Overall, the chance that a man develops NFL in his lifetime is about 1 in 42; for a woman, the risk is about 1 in 54. 

“While I was in the hospital laying in bed, one form of inspiration for me was going on social media and searching hashtags from others experiencing the same ‘thing’ I was. They were brace. They were beautiful. They believed. I hope to one day be that small dose of comfort for somebody else…the same way they gave me hope. Now, the FIGHT begins,” she adds.

The American Cancer Society also cites that, “Cancer is the leading cause of death among Hispanics, accounting for 21% of deaths. While Hispanics are less likely than non-Hispanic whites to be diagnosed with the most common cancers (lung, colorectal, breast, and prostate), they have a higher risk for cancers associated with infectious agents, such as liver, stomach, and cervix.”

Instead of feeling weak and defeated, it’s admirable that Salas is ready to fight her NHS and that she also hopes she can inspire others who may be on the same journey as her. 

Salas also says she’s ready to approach her NHS with the same work ethic she’s had in her career. “I never truly knew how strong I was until RIGHT NOW. I’m happily accepting all positive vibes and prayers, as I build my army to help me through this battle,” Salas writes. 

Fellow Fox LA colleague and friend of Salas, Leah Uko, shared an Instagram post with some beautiful words about her friend.

In a #MondayMotivation inspired caption, she writes that Salas is an inspiration not only for “being strong for herself, her loved ones and for others who have been diagnosed with #NonHodgkinsLymphoma, but also for displaying the same exact work ethic in her journey to recovery as she does as an amazing entertainment reporter.” 

She went on to say that Salas has never been a woman to “fold” and that hasn’t let her current circumstances define her negatively.

“You stand even when you may feel weak or when you may see doubt,” Uko writes. “On Saturday at Amanda’s Buzz Party where she had her hair buzzed off ahead of her surgery and second session of chemotherapy, I saw that same strong, professional work ethic she always possesses and displays.” 

Another friend of Salas tweeted her some words of encouragement, “My friend @AmandaSalas is fighting cancer and cancer picked the wrong Latina to mess with. Bless you, my dear!! You just can’t get rid of her amazing smile!!!” 

And another Twitter user replied to her and said, “You don’t know me and we have never met. But we have one thing in common. your type of cancer. My mom was diagnosed decades ago, shes still alive and strong. IF she can do it so can you. BE STRONG and live long. Know that you are not alone!” 

It’s amazing to see the kind of unwavering support that Salas is receiving from colleagues and friends in her life. It’s especially needed during this difficult time. 

“Cancer sucks,” Salas says. “But [my Buzz Party] didn’t have to.” 

He Underwent Nine Painful Surgeries To Correct His Cleft Lip And This Boy Is Raising $100K To Help Correct Other Children’s Left Lips

Things That Matter

He Underwent Nine Painful Surgeries To Correct His Cleft Lip And This Boy Is Raising $100K To Help Correct Other Children’s Left Lips

John Linton / YouTube

A very sweet 12-year-old boy in Centerville, Utah has taken it upon himself to pass on his own success story to children in Guatemala born with cleft lips and/or palates. His name is Jeffrey Linton, and he wants to raise $100,000 that would all go towards helping 400 children learn to smile and be understood by their peers.

Jeffrey Linton is all smiles about his project to get 400 more kids like him to be all smiles, too.

Credit: John Linton / YouTube

In a truly adorable video, Linton tells his audience how he had to “undergo nine painful surgeries to get as handsome” as he is now. Uncorrected, cleft lip and palates can cause chronic ear infections, difficulty eating, drinking and speaking.

In the video, we see a series of baby photos of Jeffrey as his cleft lip and palate were corrected.

Credit: John Linton / YouTube

“My first surgery was when I was only 10 weeks old and it was just a lip adhesion,” Linton says int eh video. “My cleft was wide enough that they thought it would help my muscles adjust to the repair if they did it in two stages. So although my lip was pulled together, I could still stick my tongue out above it. It looked like I was sticking my tongue out of my nose and I hear that everyone got a kick out of that.”

It’s been a long journey for the child, completed with speech therapy, and now, it’s time for him to give back.

Credit: John Linton / YouTube

Jeffrey’s second surgery was when he was just six months old. “I had a hard time recovering and my parents had a hard time knowing how much pain medication to give me,” Jeffrey told ABC. “But I came out of it with a repaired lip. They fixed my soft palate at 9 months and put ear tubes in to drain all the fluid in my ears.” It was crucial for his parents to be able to work with doctors for many years to continue his treatment.

“I want you to think about what it would be like if you couldn’t smile. It would change your life,” he tells the camera.

Credit: John Linton / YouTube

He had to go through all those surgeries but now says he “can smile, I can eat and just be happy the way I am.” He goes on to tell us, very enthusiastically, “I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t have those wonderful doctors that could have given me the surgeries that I need and those same doctors are going to Guatemala to help kids like me.”

Linton reached out to the Hirsche Smiles Foundation, which goes to Guatemala annually to operate on kids like him.

Credit: John Linton / YouTube

The organization is entirely focused on providing support to Guatemalans. It coordinates plastic surgery, dental and construction teams to offer a range of services, including cleft lip and/or palates.

All the doctors and nurses pay their own way to get there, so all the money goes directly to medical supplies.

Credit: John Linton / YouTube

HSF only works because of the volunteer surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurses who donate their travel expenses and time to these kids. Of course, HSF still needs to raise money for the medical supplies required to perform the surgeries.

This 12-year-old actually pitched Holiday Oil “and they went for it.”

Credit: John Linton / YouTube

They’re donating a portion of their car wash sales made on July 13th to Hirsche Smiles Foundation. He wants to raise $100,000 and says that “Holiday Oil has done their part, and now you get to do yours.

If you’re near a Holiday Oil, you can get a car wash on July 13, 2019, to help support the cause.

Credit: John Linton / YouTube

A portion of the proceeds will go to HSF, and you’ll get your car washed while you’re at it!

Even better, you can volunteer to help out at the car wash and tell your friends to show up, too.

Credit: John Linton / YouTube

According to Jeffrey, “You could help collect donations and drying off cars and things,” if you show up to volunteer that day as well. 

Or, you can donate directly to the Hirsche Smiles Foundation.

 
Credit: John Linton / YouTube

A donation of $250 will pay for the cost of one surgery, and 100 percent of your donation will go towards expenses for the hospitals and supplies. It’s a worthy cause, y’all.

READ: Spurred By Anger At The Trump Administration, One Latina Entrepreneur Raised $9,000 For Migrant Children

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