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Closing the Gap in the Latinx Community

Learn how the Latino Commission on AIDS is addressing unmet needs to serve the Latinx community with support from ViiV Healthcare.

Despite a 4 percent decline in HIV diagnoses from 2014 to 20151, the U.S. Latinx community remains disproportionally affected by HIV. In 2015, Hispanics/Latinx still accounted for almost one-quarter (24 percent) of all estimated new HIV diagnoses in the U.S.2 — a rate about three times that of non-Hispanic Whites (5.3).3

These statistics, coupled with complicating factors like stigma, poverty, language barriers, immigration status fears and access to care, demonstrate how much progress is still needed.4,5 As a response, the Latino Commission on AIDS (the Commission) and ViiV Healthcare are working to affect change.

The Commission, a nonprofit organization dedicated to resolving the HIV crisis in the Latinx community, has received support through ViiV Healthcare’s Positive Action Community Grants and been a grantee through the Positive Action Southern Initiative for its efforts in the Latinx community in the Southern U.S. These grants have been instrumental in supporting the Commission’s programs for at-risk Latinx to address both infection rates and access to care.

Created in 1992 by one of our heritage companies, GSK, Positive Action was the first global pharmaceutical program to support people living with HIV, their caregivers and the HIV community. Positive Action Southern Initiative — which launched in 2010 in the U.S. — supports community organizations for people living with or at risk for HIV/AIDS in the Southern U.S., the region hardest hit by the epidemic.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and the most inhuman.’ That quote should be a point of reference for leaders and all of us in public health. I keep it in mind to motivate me as we work toward eliminating disparities in our beautiful country.

Guillermo Chacón, President, Latino Commission on AIDS

Through Commission-led initiatives, almost 7,000 people living with and/or affected by HIV in the U.S. have been reached to date. The Commission's model comprises five core services: health education, HIV prevention, capacity building, advocacy and behavioral health research. President Guillermo Chacón explains the Commission’s approach to programming and partnership development has bolstered its success in these areas: “We strive to be leaders in innovation.”

Such approaches include decades-long partnerships with faith-based communities. Chacón explains that the Latino Religious Leadership Project works with dozens of churches to promote health, increase HIV awareness and conduct anti-stigma training. “We have been able to work with important religious figures to encourage stigma reduction and be more open and inclusive in their communities,” Chacón said.

Similarly, the Commission has successfully worked with nontraditional partners in the Southern U.S. through Latinos in the Deep South. This program builds networks and coalitions to support the development of leaders working with the growing Hispanic/Latinx communities in the region.

Nontraditional collaborations work well for the Commission. Through longstanding partnerships with religious leaders, Miss Universe pageant winners, the National Hispanic Medical Association and the National Institutes of Health, the Commission builds and strengthens relationships to maximize its community reach and do the most possible for the community.

Chacón points to a recent milestone at the New York City Department of Health as emblematic of how public health must evolve. In February 2017, New York Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett announced the renaming of STD clinics as sexual health clinics.

“This is what we need,” Chacón said. “We need to make changes to alter the conversation and make sexual health and wellness more in tune with reality and less stigmatized. We must empower everyone, and actions like this are changing the direction.”

ViiV Healthcare is proud to work together with the Commission to improve the lives of those most affected by HIV. To learn more about the Latino Commission on AIDS, click here.

Click here to view this article in Spanish.

REFERENCES        

1. Latino Commission on AIDS. Mission Statement. Accessed April 24, 2017. Available at: https://www.latinoaids.org/about/about.php.

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). HIV Surveillance Report, 2015; vol. 27. Table 1a, page 18.Published November 2016. Accessed December 6, 2016. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/library/reports/hiv-surveillance.html.

3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). HIV Surveillance Report, 2015; vol. 27. Table 1a, page 18. Published November 2016. Accessed December 6, 2016. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/library/reports/hiv-surveillance.html.

4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). HIV Among Hispanics/Latinos. Published March 9, 2017. Accessed April 24, 2017. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/group/racialethnic/hispaniclatinos/.

5. Latino Commission on AIDS. Mission Statement. Accessed April 24, 2017. Available at: https://www.latinoaids.org/about/about.php.

 


Website images are not intended to imply that the models pictured have HIV.