By Meron Tesfai

The HIV epidemic continues to be a serious threat in the Latino community.

While Latinos represent approximately 16 percent of the U.S population, they accounted for 20 percent of the new HIV infections in 2009. Based on current trends, at some point in their lives, approximately 1 in 36 Latino men and 1 in 106 Latina women in the United States will be diagnosed with HIV.  Latino men accounted for 79 percent of new HIV infections among all Latinos.

In Massachusetts as of 2010, Latinos accounted for 31 percent of people living with HIV/AIDS. Latinos accounted for 18 percent of all persons known to be living with HIV/AIDS in Boston.

HIV is having a significant impact in the Latino community. Timely diagnosis and treatment as well as taking steps to prevent infection are critical.

What can you do?

HIV infection is preventable; know how to protect yourself and your loved ones.  Information on HIV and prevention is available here and here.

Ask your primary care physician about getting tested for HIV. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the Mayor’s Health Line can help. Call 617-534-5050. Nosotros hablamos Español.

Meron is a project manager in the Education & Outreach Office of BPHC’s Infectious Disease Bureau.