QUESTION 4: How can we increase the rates of HIV testing in the Latino community?
At the Institute for Latinx Health Equity, we approach this question using the “3 As” model.* We ask, “are services Available, Accessible, and Acceptable?”. I also think a few mini-“a’s” are embedded but very important in the model – awareness (the foundation: knowledge is power!), advocacy (for ourselves, for those we care about, and for our communities), and adherence ( a personal commitment to keeping yourself informed and healthy, in which ever way that works best for you, and your family or loved ones, if you so choose).
QUESTION 5: What’s one thing you wish every Latino knew about HIV/AIDS?
A few things I wish everybody knew – HIV is very HUMAN– By that, I mean that it is not something that happens to someone because they are “bad” or “deviant” or “dirty”. It does not happen because individuals or their communities are “careless.”
It is also easily preventable on an individual level, and we are at an age where more and more tools can be used for prevention (such as PrEP, along with condoms, viral suppression, etc.) so that people can decide what is best for oneself.
Finally, HIV/AIDS is treatable – and NOT A DEATH SENTENCE. With advances in treatment, people with HIV are less likely to transmit the virus to others if the HIV-positive person is taking medication as prescribed, and can live longer, healthier, and have a higher quality of life. These all ultimately work together for the benefit of the community as a whole.
*Reference: Blankenship KM, Bray SJ, Merson MH. Structural interventions in public health. AIDS. 2000 Jun;14 Suppl 1:S11-21.