“Often times we think older adults aren’t part of the [HIV/AIDS] conversation, that this is a youth issue.” Casilda Luna, a senior from Washington, DC.
Washington, DC (PRWEB) December 01, 2012
December 1, 2012 marks the 15th observation of World AIDS Day. As a proud partner of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative (AAALI), the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA)— the leading organization working to improve the lives of Hispanic older adults, their families, and their caregivers— commemorates this day by recognizing the impact HIV/AIDS has on all generations.
“Often times we think older adults aren’t part of the conversation, that this is a youth issue,” said Casilda Luna, a senior from Washington, DC originally from the Dominican Republic. “However, we must be part of the conversation because we can start this dialogue with our children, our grandchildren, and our friends.”
The 2012 World AIDS Day focus, Working Toward an AIDS-Free Generation, illustrates the collective hope to eradicate new HIV infections for future generations. However, the reality today is a harsh one. Both younger and older age groups are experiencing high rates of infection. There are several shared common factors that result in HIV transmission, including unprotected sex, intravenous drug use, lack of HIV/AIDS awareness, and stigma.
While Hispanics represent approximately 16% of the U.S. population, they account for an estimated 19% of those living with HIV. Latinos also account for nearly 20% of new HIV infections every year. In fact, about one in 50 Hispanics will be infected with HIV in their lifetime, and Latino seniors are at a disproportionate risk. The rates of HIV/AIDS among people ages 50 and over were fives times higher among Hispanics compared to non-Hispanic Whites.
As an AAALI partner, NHCOA promotes intergenerational HIV/AIDS awareness in the Hispanic community, particularly Latino seniors, through three main messages: getting the facts, getting tested, and getting involved. To this end, NHCOA has created Spanish language materials targeted to older adults, their families, and caregivers, which are available at http://www.nhcoa.org/world-aids-day-2012/.
“HIV is a faceless, genderless, and most importantly, ageless disease that thrives when silence reigns,” said Dr. Yanira Cruz, NHCOA President and CEO. “That is why NHCOA has added its voice to the conversation and works actively to engage the community through intergenerational awareness. We want everyone to act against AIDS so that we can achieve the reality of an AIDS-free generation in the near future.”