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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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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Chingona 105-Year-Old Abuela Says She Survived Spanish Flu, 3 Husbands, And COVID-19 By Eating Gin-Soaked Raisins

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Chingona 105-Year-Old Abuela Says She Survived Spanish Flu, 3 Husbands, And COVID-19 By Eating Gin-Soaked Raisins

For Lucia DeClerck, nine gin-soaked raisins have kept doctors and pandemics away. The grandmother of 11 great-great-grandchildren celebrated her 105th birthday on January 25 in Mystic Meadows Rehab and Nursing Center in Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey.

That same day she was diagnosed with Covid-19.

Staff members at her nursing center say DeClerck was pretty much asymptomatic and was in the facility’s COVID-19 unit for 14 days.

Now a COVID-19 survivor, DeClerck is the oldest person at her nursing home, according to The New York Times, and has survived two pandemics. DeClerck was born in 1916 in Hawaii to parents who came from Guatemala and Spain. She was two years old and living in Hawaii when the Spanish flu broke out. Since that time, she has survived two world wars, survived three husbands, and one out of her three sons. 

“She’s just been open with everything in life and I think that has really helped her because she hasn’t hesitated to do whatever she’s wanted to do,” DeClerck’s son, Henry Laws III, told CBS Philly in an interview.

Speaking about her secret to longevity, DeClerck says it takes equal parts belief and diet.

“Pray, pray, pray. And don’t eat junk food,” she told the New York Times before going on to explain that the nine gin-soaked golden raisins she eats every morning might have helped in her survival.

According to DeClerck she has eaten the special recipe every morning for most of her life.

“Fill a jar,” she explained giving NYT her recipe. “Nine raisins a day after it sits for nine days.” The New York Times describes her diet as being a part of a ritual that her children and grandchildren chalk up to being just one in the entirety of “endearing lifelong habits, like drinking aloe juice straight from the container and brushing her teeth with baking soda. (That worked, too: She did not have a cavity until she was 99, relatives said.)”

“She is just the epitome of perseverance,” DeClerck’s 53-year-old granddaughter, Shawn Laws O’Neil explained. “Her mind is so sharp. She will remember things when I was a kid that I don’t even remember.”

Ms. DeClerck, tested positive for the virus on her 105th birthday, just one day after she had gotten her second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

“At first, she said she was scared. She did not like being isolated, and she missed the daily chatter from the parade of caregivers at Mystic Meadows Rehabilitation and Nursing, a 120-bed facility in Little Egg Harbor,” reports the New York Times. “Within two weeks she was back in her room, holding her rosary beads and wearing her trademark sunglasses and knit hat.”

According to O’Neil, DeClerck has a new nickname amongst her two surviving sons, five grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, and 11 great-great-grandchildren: “The 105-year-old badass who kicked Covid.”

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A California Couple Who Met In Middle School Died Hours Apart From Eachother At Age 67 From COVID-19

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A California Couple Who Met In Middle School Died Hours Apart From Eachother At Age 67 From COVID-19

As the current situation with the Coronavirus pandemic continues to surge, families and friends continue to live divided lives. Hope has come in the form of new vaccines and their distribution across the globe, however, the tragedies continue.

Now, a San Diego family, whose patriarchs weren’t able to receive vaccines, is suffering deeply.

Juan and Blanca Rodriguez passed away from COVID this past week within hours of saying their last goodbyes on Zoom.

The middle school sweethearts met in the seventh grade spent decades together as a married couple until passing away at the age of sixty-seven. Juan and Blanca met in the seventh grade, were married five years later, and went onto have four children and six grandchildren.

“He saw my mom in homeroom in seventh grade, and he said from the moment he saw her, he knew he was going to marry her,” the couple’s daughter Cynthia Rodriguez explained in an interview to NBC12

This past January, Juan and Blanca were retired and living with one of their children when everyone in the family contracted COVID-19.

Their illnesses came as a surprise to the family particularly because they had been extremely cautious.

“We quarantined. We didn’t go out. We didn’t even go to stores. We would order food delivery,” the couple’s other daughter Blanca Velazquez explained.

While the family eventually recovered, on Feb. 1 Juan and Blanca were rushed to the hospital. The couple was sent to two separate facilities and communicated with their family through Zoom.

Over the weekend, after Juan’s condition continued to worsen his family said virtual goodbyes.

“My mom was on the Zoom call, and she told my dad that she was happy that she was able to share her life with him, and she thanked him for being the love of her life,” explained Velazquez.

Juana and Blanca’s son Juan Rodriguez Jr. revealed on a GoFundMe page set up to help with funeral expenses that not long after Blanca’s call with Juan, the family received a call from Blanca “saying she was not doing well and they had to put her on a ventilator as well. The Dr. called a few hours later and said she didn’t respond to the ventilator and there was nothing else they could do for her.”

Blanca passed away three hours after her call with her family on Feb. 8 at 12:30 a.m. Later, Juan died at 4:18 a.m.

“Losing one parent is bad enough, but losing them both on the same day has been both devastating and heartbreaking. We have peace in knowing that since they were always together in life, they could not be apart in death as well,” Juan Jr. wrote. “He couldn’t live without her, so, he just let go. It’s like an epic love story, that they went together in the same day. They were the best parents,” Velazquez told NBC12.

As of Thursday afternoon, the family’s GoFundMe raised $16,897 toward its $25,000 goal.

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