Latino Community in North Carolina’s Triangle Region Clings to HIV/AIDS ‘Fallacies’
Latinos in North Carolina's Triangle region still cling to many HIV/AIDS "fallacies," prompting local officials to increase their prevention and awareness efforts within the community by utilizing Spanish-speaking staffers and Spanish language materials, the Raleigh News & Observer reports. A small survey of 48 Latinos in Durham taken last November found that just under half thought they could get HIV through food or incidental contact at work, while 46% did not know they could get the virus through unprotected sex with an infected person. Observational data has also indicated that Latinos are less likely to seek counseling, testing and treatment because of immigration fears, language barriers and the belief that "only weak men seek medical help." Such findings have prompted local health officials to hire more Spanish-speaking workers and to use print and radio campaigns to disseminate information on HIV/AIDS in Spanish. Wake County has dedicated $123,000 of a grant for syphilis prevention projects to hire a male and female outreach worker for the Alliance of AIDS Services-Carolinas program so that residents can feel more comfortable talking to someone of their own sex. They also used part of the grant money to print new brochures and advertisements about HIV testing and treatment in Spanish. In addition, the county is sponsoring a weekly half-hour radio show, "On the Air Latina Health Resources," on the Spanish-language WETC radio station to address health and welfare issues. A $100,000 grant from the March of Dimes supports the show. According to Sharlene Simon, Wake HIV/AIDS Community Program manager, reproductive health problems are a "popular topic" on the show. "There is an incredible stigma and feeling of shame. People may be living with family and not telling them [that they have an STD]. It's incredibly isolating" (Hennessy-Fiske, Raleigh News & Observer, 3/14).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.