|Statement of Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., Director,
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National
Institutes of Health, on National Latino AIDS Awareness Day,
October 15, 2007
October 15, 2007, marks the fifth annual National Latino AIDS
Awareness Day. On this day, the National Institute of Allergy and
Infectious Diseases (NIAID) pledges to continue working toward
reducing the burden of HIV/AIDS in the Latino community in the
United States. We commemorate everyone who has been lost to the
disease and recognize those committed individuals who promote HIV/AIDS
education and awareness in all communities.
Racial and ethnic minorities continue to be disproportionately
affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In 2005, the adult and adolescent
AIDS case rate was 3.5 times higher among Latinos than among whites.
This is the second highest rate of any racial/ethnic group in the
United States. By the end of 2005, an estimated 77,125 Latinos
with AIDS in the United States had died.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that
one-quarter of people in the United States living with HIV do not
know that they are infected with the virus. This fact — coupled with
stigma and discrimination, misconceptions about the disease, inadequate
healthcare and language barriers — underscores the need to encourage
Latinos to become educated about HIV/AIDS and to get tested regularly.
One of NIAID's top priorities is to conduct and support HIV/AIDS
research that can help improve the health of millions of people
in the United States and around the world. Developing new interventions
to combat HIV/AIDS requires involvement from all communities, particularly
those most affected by the disease. We all have a role. To determine
whether an HIV therapy, a vaccine or another prevention strategy
works for everyone — including Latinos — men and women from all racial
and ethnic backgrounds are needed as clinical trial volunteers
and as supporters of those who are considering enrollment.
Fostering strong collaborations with all communities remains a
critical goal of HIV/AIDS research. NIAID is committed to working
in partnership with the Latino community to raise awareness about
HIV transmission, to promote education about HIV prevention and
treatment, and encourage involvement in the research process to
help in our search for new and more effective prevention and treatment
interventions. As we move forward, we must continue to strengthen
the partnerships between Latinos and all those involved in the
fight against HIV/AIDS, such as government agencies, scientists,
activists, and philanthropic, religious and community organizations.
Let us use National Latino AIDS Awareness Day as a day to recommit
ourselves to this effort.
Dr. Fauci is director of the National Institute of Allergy
and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health
in Bethesda, Maryland.
Media inquiries can be directed to the NIAID News and
Public Information Branch at 301-402-1663, firstname.lastname@example.org.
NIAID is a component of the National Institutes of Health. 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 basic immunology,
transplantation and immune-related disorders, including autoimmune
diseases, 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 www.nih.gov.