The invisible US Hispanic/Latino HIV crisis: Addressing gaps in the national response

November 14, 2019

"In his February 5,2019, State of the Union Address, President Trump promised to reinforce national efforts to end the US HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2030. However, the national public health agenda has neglected the accelerating HIV/AIDS crisis in Hispanic/Latino communities. Progress in the fight against HIV is re?ected in aggregate data for the United States, but data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) raise alarming concerns about widening, yet largely unrecognized, HIV infection disparities among Hispanics/Latinos."

So begins a peer-reviewed commentary published today (Nov. 14) in the American Journal of Public Health and principally authored by Professor Vincent Guilamo-Ramos of the NYU Silver School of Social Work.

Appearing on the approach to Worlds AIDS Day on Dec. 1, the article notes that the federal government is seeking to put an end to HIV transmission in the US in little more than a decade. But, it states, while the number of estimated annual new HIV infections in the United States has declined overall by 6% since 2010, it has increased among Hispanic/Latino populations by 14% or more.

The alarming trend is best understood by considering the specific Hispanic/Latino populations most heavily affected by HIV/AIDS, such as Hispanic/Latino gay and bisexual men 25 to 34 years old, who experienced the largest increase in estimated annual new HIV infections of all groups reflected in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surveillance data.

In this piece, Dr. Guilamo-Ramos draws from his research in Latinx communities to identify underlying drivers of increasing new HIV infections among Hispanics/Latinos most at risk, discusses current national efforts to fight HIV across the demographic, and underscores gaps in the national response.

Consideration of these underlying drivers of increased HIV incidence among Hispanics/Latinos is warranted to achieve the administration's 2030 HIV/AIDS goals, writes Guilamo-Ramos - with specifically focused investment in: (1) HIV stigma reduction in Hispanic/Latino communities, (2) the availability and accessibility of HIV treatment of HIV-positive Hispanics/Latinos, (3) the development of behavioral interventions tailored to Hispanic/Latino populations, and (4) the engagement of Hispanic/Latino community leaders.
Dr. Guilamo-Ramos is the founder and director of the Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health (CLAFH) at NYU Silver, and the vice-chair of the board of directors at the Latino Commission on AIDS (LCOA). In addition, Dr. Guilamo-Ramos maintains an active clinical practice at the Adolescent AIDS Program at Montefiore Medical Center. The article's co-authors are Marco Thimm-Kaiser and Adam Benzekri from NYU CLAFH, Guillermo Chacón and Luis Scaccabarrozzi from LCOA, Oscar R. López from the Valley AIDS Council, and Dr. Elena Rios from the National Hispanic Medical Association.

New York University

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