Join the Fight, Spread the Word
“Today we celebrate National Latino AIDS Awareness Day, and the 25th anniversary of HIV/AIDS. Let us mark this day with a renewed spirit and effort to battle against this deadly virus.
“HIV/AIDS disproportionately affects Latinos in this country, for while Latinos only represent 14% of the population of this country, 19% of those with HIV/AIDS are Latinos. 100,000 Latinos have died from this disease. We cannot continue to allow HIV/AIDS to ravage our communities.
“Educating and reaching out to our children, family, and friends to address drug use, sexuality, and sexual activity should be our number one priority, because knowledge is the first step in successful prevention. The fact that these are topics that have been deemed unmentionable for generations is one of the reasons the epidemic of HIV/AIDS affects Latinos disproportionately; this is something that we must strive to change.
“We must utilize our strengths to defeat this epidemic in our communities; we cannot allow silence and lack of information on this virus to be the cause of such tragic illness and death any longer.
“Access to care is also a major issue for many Latinos. This week the House will be voting to override the president’s veto of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, legislation which will provide 10 million low-income children with health insurance. This access to health care will allow these children to begin and continue to live healthy lives.
“For a person with HIV/AIDS, access health care is imperative. Many cannot obtain private insurance, are uninsured, or do not know how to apply for public insurance.
“This lack of insurance leads to less access to care, which further stymies the possibilities of successfully living with HIV/AIDS. I believe that access to appropriate and affordable health care is a basic human right, and while the passage of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) will be a good first step, it is by no means the only step we need to take.
“This has been a long, frustrating battle, and it is far from over. Today I join in solidarity with those who have suffered or watched a loved one suffer from HIV/AIDS. As I recommit myself to the fight against this virus I ask you to please join me.”
For more information please call1-800-CDC-INFO, or visit http://www.nlaad.org.