NEW YORK – At the steps of City Hall, New York City Council Members, community leaders, health educators, advocates and people living with HIV/AIDS called on the importance of HIV testing in the Latino/Hispanic communities in response to the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic among communities of color.
This coming October 15th, communities across the nation will recognize National Latino AIDS Awareness Day, NLAAD, which is held each year in commemoration of the last day of Hispanic Heritage Month. NLAAD represents a call to action for Hispanics/Latinos to protect their lives and the lives of those they love by getting tested and learning about HIV and other health conditions that impact our communities.
NLAAD was established in 2003 to act as a community mobilization catalyst to prevent the spread of HIV infection by promoting HIV testing opportunities, to connect people to care and activities that raise HIV/AIDS awareness and other health conditions impacting Hispanics.
“Community partners are renewing their commitment to HIV testing, prevention and care for all Latinos, regardless of immigration status or language ability. Latinos living with HIV/AIDS, their families, loved ones and friends are uniting locally and around the country with community based organizations, health departments, elected officials, religious and civic leaders to commemorate NLAAD,” said Melissa Faith Ramirez, Director of National Latino AIDS Awareness Day.
“Recognizing that our communities have faced persistent barriers to accessing HIV services, I commend all those that provide comprehensive, measurable efforts in access, prevention, and HIV/AIDS outcomes in our Latino communities. We must continue doing great work. HIV is preventable.” said Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer.
Lillian Rodriguez-Lopez, President of Hispanic Federation announced that, “We need to come together to reaffirm our commitment to increase HIV/AIDS awareness in all Hispanic communities in both Spanish and English. We cannot miss anybody; HIV does not discriminate.”
The Latino Commission on AIDS, a leader on HIV/AIDS and health related issues across the United States and its territories denounces the horrific epidemic of hate crimes in our communities.
“We strongly condemn all the brutal hate crimes against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people, LGBT in our communities and urge the authorities with assistance in this investigation. We cannot stand by and allow any more violence that targets any individual because of their race, ethnicity or sexual orientation. The individuals responsible for any form of hate crimes must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” stated Guillermo Chacon, President, The Latino Commission on AIDS. “We call on the Latino leadership to make public statements and actions in condemning these horrible crimes.”
“Homophobia increases the isolation of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgender people and represents a real threat to public heath. Hate crimes should never be tolerated and the Latino Commission on AIDS condemns any and all violence against any sexual minority group,” stated Mariela Elizondo, Director of Advocacy at the Latino Commission on AIDS. “This hatred and fear based on sexual orientation does not just affect the mental and physical health of the LGBT community, but also affect the health and well being of all Americans and it needs to be stopped.”
Your help is urgently needed to stem the wave of domestic and international violence against the LGBT community.
By taking just one or two of the actions listed below, you can take a stand for justice and help to protect the safety and lives of LGBT people.
Join the Latino Commission on AIDS and its partners in supporting the sing-on declaration against hate crimes by visiting www.latinoaids.org.
Write or call your elected officials and encourage them to make a public statement condemning this violence and ensure that local law enforcement fully investigate any hate crime.
The Latino Commission on AIDS, the Hispanic Federation, the Community HealthCare Network and OraSure Technologies work hard in order to educate the Latino/Hispanic communities on the importance of HIV testing.
National Latino AIDS Awareness Day was created in 2003 in response to the devastating impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on Hispanic/Latino Communities across the US and territories. October 15th, marks the eighth annual commemoration of NLAAD, which is held each year in commemoration of the last day of Hispanic Heritage Month. NLAAD represents a call to action for Hispanics/Latinos to protect their lives and the lives of those they love by getting tested and learning about HIV