July is Latino HIV Testing Month

State Health Department Urges Latinos to Protect Themselves and Loved Ones by Getting Tested

ALBANY, NY (July 19, 2011) -- In recognition of the serious impact HIV/AIDS has on Latino communities, New York is observing Latino HIV Testing Month in July.

Latinos represent 17 percent of New York's population but account for 32 percent (40,400) of all New Yorkers currently living with HIV/AIDS. State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah, M.D., M.P.H., noted the disproportionate impact of the epidemic on the Latino community as he urged people to get tested.

"Being tested for HIV allows people to learn their status and get treatment if necessary, which also protects the health of their partners and families," Commissioner Shah said. "Obtaining health services early, when care and treatment is most effective, is the best way to combat HIV and AIDS, and we are committed to increasing the number of Latinos who get tested for HIV."

Humberto Cruz, director of the Health Department's AIDS Institute, said: "The HIV/AIDS epidemic among Latinos is varied. Among adult Latino men, most HIV transmission occurs among men who have sex with men; among Latina women, HIV transmission is primarily through heterosexual contact. In all cases, testing is vital to saving lives."

As part of Latino HIV Testing Month, the State Health Department encourages all Latinos throughout the State and all agencies that serve Latinos to work together to promote HIV testing. The Latino HIV Testing Month bilingual web site, http://latinohivtesting.org, provides information on where to get tested and where to obtain other HIV-related services.

Agencies that work with Latinos can register at the site to participate in the initiative and promote their services. Additional information may be obtained by e-mailing LHTM@latinoaids.org or by following the initiative's Twitter feed, @LatinoHIVtest, and its Twitter hasthtag, #2011LHTM.

Individuals can also visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) HIV and sexually transmitted disease testing resources web site at http://www.hivtest.org to locate testing sites in their community. Mobile phone users can receive the same information within seconds by sending a text message with their zip code to "KNOWIT" (566948).

For more information about HIV/AIDS, call the New York State HIV/AIDS Hotline at 1-800-541-AIDS (Spanish, 1-800-233-SIDA) or visit the State Health Department web site at http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/aids/

Contact: 518 474 7354, ext.1 press.office@health.state.ny.us