Tucson, AZ – Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva released the following statement today on the 6th Annual National Latino AIDS Awareness Day, which is recognized on October 15:
“Today marks the 6th annual National Latino AIDS Awareness Day. For over 25 years the HIV/AIDS virus has devastated the lives of thousands of Latinos in the United States.
“The AIDS epidemic continues to pose a threat on the livelihoods of Latinos. As of April 2008, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that in 2005 HIV/AIDS was the fourth leading cause of death among Latino men and women between the ages of 35 and 44.
“Educating our children, parents, and friends is the first step we can take to ensure successful prevention. Due to a number of cultural, socioeconomic, and health related factors the virus creates greater challenges in the Latino community. We need to increase our communication about safer sex practices and encourage our friends and family to participate in routine HIV testing.
“Together, we can be successful in halting the spread of the virus. Through active participation in our communities and creating easier access to information we can stop this virus from continuing to cause illness and death.
“The journey to defeating HIV/AIDS has been a long struggle. I ask you to join me in the struggle and become active advocates in the battle against the virus. We can no longer sit still and allow HIV/AIDS to harm our community. Today we commit our support to battle against this virus.”