“Ending HIV is at Your Fingertips”
National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day
(Santa Ana, CA) – October 15 marks National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD), which helps promote testing and early diagnosis of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. NLAAD is a national campaign that raises awareness about HIV among Latinx. This year’s theme is “Ending HIV is at Your Fingertips.” The campaign promotes testing, prevention, and the benefits of HIV treatment. The following is recommended:
• Get tested and know your HIV status;
• Use condoms as a way of protecting yourself from HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs);
• If HIV-negative, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) may help protect you from getting HIV; and
• If HIV-positive, get and stay virally suppressed.
NLAAD is important because at the end of 2019, there were 6,449 persons living with HIV (PLWH) in Orange County (OC). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates an additional 904 OC residents have HIV and do not know it.
While the Latinx population represents about 34% of the total population in OC, this group represented more than half of those diagnosed with HIV in 2019. Latinx also represent half of those who were diagnosed with AIDS at the same time they received their HIV diagnosis. On average, people who are diagnosed with HIV and AIDS at the same time are estimated to have been living with HIV for more than 10 years without knowing their HIV status.
Many in this demographic have been to a medical setting such as an emergency room, a community health center, or their doctor, but were not tested for HIV. It is important that the Latinx community have routine HIV testing as part of their medical care in order to start treatment early to prevent or delay the process of developing AIDS.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that one (1) in seven (7) people who have HIV are unaware. Every adolescent and adult should get an HIV test at least once as part of routine health care and those at increased risk of HIV should be tested more regularly. Ending HIV is at Your Fingertips, know your HIV status, and prevent new HIV infections.
If you have never been tested for HIV, ask your doctor for an HIV test. Besides doctor offices, free confidential HIV testing is available in OC at the agencies listed below. Due to COVID-19, testing services may be by appointment only and testing hours may change without notice. To make an appointment or for additional information regarding testing hours, contact:
• APAIT Health Center: Call (714) 636-1349 to make an appointment or visit http://apaitonline.org for more information.
• OC Health Care Agency/17th Street Testing, Treatment and Care Clinic: Call (714) 834-8787 to make an appointment or visit http://www.ochealthinfo.com/std for more information.
• RADAR: Call (714) 868-5601 for information on at home HIV self-test kits.
• Radiant Health Centers: Call (949) 809-8764 to make an appointment or visit https://www.radianthealthcenters.org for more information.
• The LGBT Center of Orange County: Call (714) 953-5428 to make an appointment or visit www.lgbtcenteroc.org for more information.
For more testing sites and information about HIV services in OC, please call (714) 834-8335 or visit www.ochealthinfo.com/phs/about/dcepi/hiv/sites. To list or find NLAAD events visit www.nlaad.org.
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