In conjunction with this years 25th observation of World AIDS Day, marked each year on December 1st, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is proud to launch a new initiative specifically for the Latino community, addressing safer-sex practices, HIV infection and prevention. The groups first effortthe Sin Proteccion, No Hay Accion, multi-media media campaignwith billboards, print and digital ads, launches this week, with television ads to follow in the coming weeks.
An ethnically diverse committee within AHF was organized to identify and target the specific needs and concerns that face Latino communities. Albert K. Ruiz, AHFs Director of Wellness Center Programs noted,
Every community has their own issues and circumstances which need to be addressed in ways that are both specific and organic to that community. Seeing as Latinos are the second largest group for new HIV infections within the US, we felt that there was a need for these types of messages for Latinos, created by Latinos. Specifically in Los Angeles, at 45 percent, Latinos were the largest ethnic group that accounted for new HIV infections.
For a long time, HIV prevention ads have only emphasized condom use in stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS. In its first campaign created specifically for L.A.-based Latinos, Sin Proteccion, No Hay Accion, AHF aims to expand the message of protection to encompass a broader spectrum of tools. The bi-lingual campaign highlights the importance of protecting your own sexual health not only through condom use, but also by knowing your HIV status, reducing stigma, ending shame and seeking treatment if needed. In Los Angeles alone, LAs Public Health Department estimates that there are 5,000 Latinos living with HIV who do not know it.
Sin Proteccion, No Hay Accion does not shy away from controversial issues that often lead to contracting HIV within the Latino community, especially with gay men. Alexander Goncalvez, Associate Director of Mobile Testing Programs for AHF says, The fact is that a large contributor to the spread of HIV among Latinos is, culturally, theres still wide-spread stigma and homophobia within the community. Gay Latino men are scared to come out, and those who need treatment are afraid to come forward and seek it out. Through this initiative, AHF hopes to spark new conversations, and raise awareness about the various reasons HIV infection remains on the rise with Latinos.
The challenge with messages directed at the Latin community up to now, is that there really is no single Latino community, said Adela Ramirez, Director of Global Marketing for AHF. American-born Latinos come from several different countries, socioeconomic levels, and have varied cultural idiosyncrasies. We want to create messages that break down many of these barriers, not just language barriers.
Recognizing the diverse composition of the Latino community, AHF plans to launch similar campaigns in other regions, addressing the specific needs of Latinos in those areas.
About AIDS Healthcare Foundation
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 250,000 individuals in 32 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare.