National Latino AIDS Awareness Day
In the United States, the HIV/AIDS epidemic has adversely affected Latino/Hispanic communities and its impact on Hispanics/Latinos continues to grow at disproportionate rates. As the youngest and fastest growing minority group in the U.S., the Hispanic/Latino population is witnessing the devastating effects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic (U.S. Census Bureau). Several factors, such as cultural norms (discrimination, language barriers, and acculturation) and familiar norms, act as obstacles to prevention efforts and thus contribute to the high level of HIV infection. Currently, Hispanics/Latinos comprise 15.3% of the U.S. population, (U.S. Census Bureau) but account for 24.3% of the new HIV infections in the U.S. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Hispanics are highly vulnerable when it comes to HIV prevention and care. As a response to this state of emergency, National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD) was created in 2003 as a mobilizing vehicle implemented at the local level to help stem the tide of HIV/AIDS in our Latino communities.
October 15 th culminates the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month and marks the first day of what has become an annual observance in our fight against AIDS: National Latino AIDS Awareness Day.
Concept – October 15th was established as National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD) in 2003, to draw attention to the critical role HIV testing and prevention education plays in stemming the spread of HIV/AIDS among Latino communities. It is a day during Hispanic heritage month that organizations around the country use to promote and sponsor activities that respond to the state of HIV/AIDS among Latinos in their specific communities. This year’s theme: Unidos Podemos: HIV/AIDS Stops Here. Prevention Starts With Us – speaks to the importance of working together to educate nuestra gente to prevent the infection from spreading; encourage HIV testing; provide medical treatment and care; and to continue to advocate for those living with HIV/AIDS.
Local Ownership – Every locality will organize an activity that will address the epidemic in their communities and make the public aware of what must be done to prevent new infections and advocate for proper care for those who are living with HIV/AIDS. Each participating locality/organization is largely responsible for raising funds needed to sponsor their own activity.
National Planning Committee Participation – The National Planning Committee, comprised of the Latino Commission on AIDS, the Hispanic Federation and Hispanic/Latino organizations throughout the U.S., coordinates National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD). All organizations invested in NLAAD commit themselves to organizing local groups and leaders; to be inclusive of all segments of the Hispanic/Latino community; to raise funds for their organized activity; to participate in the National Planning Committee conference calls; and to work with the National Organizer of NLAAD. The Planning Committee develops tools such as campaign kits and posters and gives advice to the technical support that is needed to assist in creating a well-planned and well-received event.