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PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
October 15, 2007

Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D.
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
S Patricia Cabrera
609-984-7160


 
DHSS to Co-sponsor Health Fairs, Events In Recognition of National Latino AIDS Awareness Day


 

 

The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is coordinating with agencies throughout the state to observe National Latino AIDS Awareness Day  in a series of events designed to raise understanding of the impact of HIV/AIDS on the Latino community, and to encourage people to learn their HIV status.

 

The theme for this year is "Despierta! Toma Control! Hazte La Prueba Del VIH" (Wake Up! Take Control! Take the HIV Test!).  Events scheduled include community health fairs, rapid HIV testing and community forums/conferences.

 

"HIV/AIDS disproportionately impacts members of the Latino community in New Jersey, and that is unacceptable," said Department of Health and Senior Services Commissioner Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D.  "Through concerted and cooperative efforts, our partners in the community and DHSS are dedicated to reducing these disparities and improving the health of Latinos in our state."

 

Latinos account for just 15 percent of New Jersey's population yet 22 percent of all new HIV infections.  As a result, one in every 185 Latinos is infected with HIV.  Nineteen percent of women living with HIV in New Jersey are Latina, and 70 percent of those infections are the result of heterosexual contacts.

 

Monday, October 15 is the fifth annual observation of National Latino AIDS Awareness Day .  The observance was created in 2003 by the Latino AIDS Commission and the Hispanic Federation, in partnership with community based organizations, people living with HIV/AIDS, and local public health agencies to educate the Latino community about HIV/AIDS and to promote HIV testing. 

 

This year over 350 organizations throughout the country are planning events of various kinds to commemorate this day to raise awareness about HIV, and to encourage Latinos to take control of their health by getting tested for HIV.  .

 

  In New Jersey, several events co-sponsored by the Department of Health and Senior Services-Division of HIV/AIDS Services will be held leading up to, on and after October 15.

All events will be co-sponsored by the six community-based Latino agencies funded by the DHSS a few years ago, to conduct intensive outreach and expand HIV testing to at-risk and "out-of-care" Latinos. 

 

"The first step to preventing the continued disproportionate spread of AIDS in the Latino community to ensure each individual knows their HIV status," said Dr. Jacobs.  "These agencies are doing excellent work in extending the reach of Rapid HIV testing to high risk communities, and we are proud to support their efforts."

 

The Rapid HIV test is important in decreasing the spread of HIV because it overcomes a major obstacle in HIV testing. Getting the results in 20 minutes means people no longer have to wait one or two weeks and return to the testing site to receive their results.

 

In 2003, before Rapid HIV testing was available, New Jersey’s publicly funded counseling and testing sites performed 67,941 HIV tests. Of those, 23,230 people—or 34 percent—never returned to the testing site for the results.  Since Rapid testing has been available in New Jersey ‘s publicly funded counseling and testing sites 129,856 persons tested, of which 34,893 were Hispanic or 27%.

 

With the Rapid HIV test, clients receive their results 99.3 percent of the time.  As a result, more than 25,000 additional New Jerseyans learned their HIV status.

 

The following events will be held in New Jersey in recognition of National Latino AIDS Awareness Day:

 

 

  • El Club del Barrio (Newark): will sponsor a Community Health Festival on Saturday, October 13 from 10:00am to 3:00pm at Elwood Park in Newark.  HIV testing will be available.

 

  • Hispanic Family Center (Camden): will sponsor a Community Health Fair on Saturday, October 13 from 11:00am to 3:00pm at 27th and Westfield Avenues in East Camden.  HIV testing will be available.

 

  • City of Trenton: will sponsor a Community Forum on Monday, October 15 from 10:00am to 2:00pm at the Boys and Girls Club on Centre Street in Trenton.  Gloria Reuben, known for her role in the popular television drama, "ER", will be the keynote speaker.  HIV testing will be available.

 

  • Horizon Health Center (Jersey City): will sponsor a Community Forum on Monday, October 15 from 4:00pm to 8:00pm at the Affairs Building on Bergen Street in Jersey City.  HIV testing will be available.

 

  • Spanish Community Center (Atlantic City): will sponsor a Health Fair on Monday, October 15 from 11:00am to 3:00pm at its Atlantic City location on Ventnor Avenue.  HIV testing will be available.

 

  • PROCEED (Elizabeth), in collaboration with El Club del Barrio, will conduct a Community Conference, in Spanish, on Saturday, November 17 from 9:00am to 4:00pm at the Double Tree Hotel/Newark Airport in Elizabeth.  HIV testing will be available.

 

 
 
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