National Latino AIDS Awareness Day is observed annually on October 15, or the last day of National Hispanic Heritage Month. In 2015, this segment of the population accounted for about one quarter of all new diagnoses of HIV in the U.S. Local organizations across the country use the day to launch prevention campaigns, offer counseling and testing, and hold cultural events.
National Latino AIDS Awareness Day - History
October 15, 2003
First National Latino AIDS Awareness Day
The U.S. launched its first National Latino AIDS Awareness Day. By this point, there were more cases in African-American and Latino people than white people.
Concern grows about exposure in minorities
The Centers for Disease Control launched a TV campaign about the impact of AIDS on minorities.
December 1, 1988
World Health Organization declared the first World AIDS Day
The world's first AIDS Day was recognized as part of an attempt to bring awareness to the disease. WHO says that AIDS cases have increased 56 percent worldwide.
June 5, 1981
HIV was on the CDC's radar
The Centers for Disease Control issued the first warning about a rare form of pneumonia, later determined to be AIDS-related. Health officials believe it had been spreading for years before this warning.
How to Observe National Latino AIDS Awareness Day
1. Contribute to an event
Local organization and community centers across the country hold events in observation of National Latino AIDS Awareness Day. Contribute by volunteering, going with a friend, or posting the event info online. Remember, it's about both prevention and treatment.
2. Get the word out
Many cases of HIV/AIDS are mishandled or not diagnosed. Spread the word that free testing and counseling are available.
3. Be supportive
You may or may not know someone battling HIV/AIDS. Either way, you can be supportive. Reach out to someone who is dealing with it and let them know you understand.
4 Prominent Figures In The Fight Against HIV
1. Rock Hudson
Before his death in 1985, Hudson went public with his AIDS diagnosis. He was the first major public figure to do so.
2. Martin Delaney
Delaney was one of the original AIDS activists. He lobbied the government and FDA to fast-track treatments and experimental drug trials. He also smuggled treatment drugs in from Mexico in order to conduct his own trials.
3. Elizabeth Glaser
Glaser founded the Pediatric AIDS Foundation after she and her daughter contracted HIV from a blood transfusion. At the time, her daughter had no medical options, because there hadn't been any trials done on treatment for children.
4. Magic Johnson
Johnson risked career damage and public backlash when he revealed his HIV diagnosis in 1991. He went on to create the Magic Johnson Foundation, which tackles HIV/AIDS through education, testing, and treatment.
Why National Latino AIDS Awareness Day is Important
A. It's a warning for some
A quarter of new HIV/AIDS cases are diagnosed in Latino/Hispanic individuals — despite this group making up just 18 percent of Americans.
B. Helpful information
According to the Centers for Disease Control, just 83 percent of Hispanic/Latino Americans with HIV/AIDS are diagnosed. Campaigns like this help those living with the disease — without either knowing or managing it — find the proper resources.
C. We all need to know
Americans of any race or heritage can learn about how the disease is impacting friends and neighbors.