|Statement of Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., Director,
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on National
Latino AIDS Awareness Day, October 15, 2005
Together with national, regional, and local HIV/AIDS groups and
my colleagues at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious
Diseases (NIAID), I am proud to participate in the commemoration
of the third annual National Latino AIDS Awareness Day.
This day is an opportunity to commend all those who have worked
to stop HIV/AIDS in the Latino community. Religious and community
leaders, people living with HIV/AIDS, scientists, activists, and
others have worked together to raise awareness and reduce the devastating
effects of HIV/AIDS. Looking forward, we must continue — and strengthen — our
commitment to reducing the burden of HIV/AIDS among Latinos and
all other groups affected by this scourge.
Historically, Latinos in the United States have been disproportionately
affected by HIV/AIDS. Latinos comprise 14 percent of the U.S. population,
yet from 1981 through 2003, they accounted for 19 percent of total
AIDS cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In recent years the disease has increasingly impacted Latino women
and children; this demographic change underscores the urgent need
to address the disastrous effects of HIV/AIDS within the entire
Latino communities face many obstacles in the fight against HIV/AIDS,
including cultural stigma associated with HIV/AIDS, misconceptions
and lack of knowledge about the disease, language barriers, lack
of access to adequate healthcare, and high poverty. We must raise
awareness of HIV/AIDS and encourage all communities, especially
the Latino community, to promote comprehensive HIV prevention programs,
to support strong care and treatment programs, to encourage friends
and family members to be tested for HIV, and to support efforts
to find a vaccine and a cure.
A broad effort involving Latino organizations at the national,
regional and local levels is essential. We are making progress.
For example, the NIAID HIV Vaccine Communications Campaign supports
non-profit, community-based organizations who serve Latino communities
to increase knowledge and awareness about HIV vaccine research.
NIAID also is partnering with industry, academia, and community
groups to educate and provide opportunities for the Latino community
to become involved in clinical research to develop new and improved
tools of prevention and treatment, especially an HIV vaccine. Building
these partnerships can help strengthen our efforts to prevent and
I invite people around the country to demonstrate their support
and commitment to eradicating HIV/AIDS by recognizing those leaders
within the Latino community who are working to fight HIV/AIDS.
Our partners in the Latino community are essential to bringing
an end to the modern-day plague of HIV/AIDS.
Dr. Fauci is director of the National Institute of Allergy and
Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda,
Media inquiries can be directed to the NIAID News Office at
NIAID is a component of the National Institutes of Health,
an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
NIAID supports basic and applied research to prevent, diagnose
and treat infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and other sexually
transmitted infections, influenza, tuberculosis, malaria and
illness from potential agents of bioterrorism. NIAID also supports
research on transplantation and immune-related illnesses, including
autoimmune disorders, asthma and allergies.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's
Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and
Centers and is a component of the U. S. Department of Health
and Human Services. It is the primary Federal agency for conducting
and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research,
and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both
common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and
its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.