HIV and Hispanics/Latinos HIV and Hispanics/Latinos
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

HIV and Hispanics/Latinos

The HIV epidemic continues to be a serious threat to the Latino community. While Latinos represent approximately 16% of the U.S. population, they accounted for 20% of new HIV infections in 2009, the latest year for which data is available. Additionally, at some point in their lives, approximately 1 in 36 Latino men will be diagnosed with HIV, as will 1 in 106 Hispanic women. In fact, the rate of new HIV infections among Latino men is almost three times that of white men, and the rate among Latinas is more than four times that of white women.

The impact of HIV on Latino communities is not directly related to race or ethnicity, but rather to some of the barriers faced by many Latinos including poverty (being poor), migration, stigma, and acculturation (the process of adopting the cultural traits or social patterns of another group).

The National HIV/AIDS Strategy[PDF – 1.2MB] calls for prioritizing prevention efforts in the populations where HIV is most heavily concentrated and for alleviating racial and ethnic disparities, like those documented among Latinos. To achieve the strategy’s goals, CDC is implementing "High-Impact Prevention[PDF – 258KB]," a new approach designed to maximize available HIV prevention resources and have the greatest impact on the U.S. HIV epidemic.

National Latino AIDS Awareness Day

Latino communities, with assistance from federal, state and local public health agencies, have increased efforts to address the effects of the epidemic. Initiated in 2003 by the Latino Commission on AIDS and the Hispanic Federation in partnership with faith and community organizations, NLAAD raises awareness of issues concerning HIV/AIDS within the Latino population living in the United States and abroad.

This year’s theme—Latinos Unite! Let’s Stay Healthy! Get Tested for HIV!—speaks to the critical role Latino community members play in supporting HIV testing and prevention education, which saves lives. We can promote healthy communities by facilitating partnerships; hosting community events that encourage people to seek HIV testing, counseling, and treatment; and by developing and disseminating prevention strategies that are culturally competent and accessible.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all adolescents and adults be tested for HIV as a routine part of medical care – regardless of perceived risk. Yet more than a half of Latinos have never been tested. It’s critical to know your HIV status so you can take steps to protect yourself and sexual partner(s).