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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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