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11 August 2017, 06:55
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U.S.: Disproportionate burden of HIV among the Hispanic/Latino Community

U.S.: Disproportionate burden of HIV among the Hispanic/Latino Community - picture 1

Only about one-half of Hispanics and Latinos diagnosed with HIV in the US are currently retained in HIV care. There is a disproportionate burden of HIV among Hispanic, and Latino patients in the US, and clinicians and healthcare providers play a critical role in preventing and combating this disease.

By the most recent CDC data, Hispanics and Latinos accounted for 24 percent of all estimated new diagnoses of HIV in the United States in 2015, despite representing about 17 percent of the total population. Gay, bisexual, and other Hispanic/Latino men who have sex with men are particularly affected, accounting for more than 8 in 10 of estimated HIV diagnoses among Hispanic and Latino men in 2015. If these rates continue, one in four Hispanic and Latino gay and bisexual men will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime.

Some Hispanics and Latinos might not seek counseling or treatment because of stigma and discrimination, limited access to healthcare, and language barriers.

CDC recommends screening all patients aged 13-64 years at least once as part of their routine medical care and screening high-risk patients at least annually. The US Preventive Services Task Force grade "A" HIV screening recommendation suggests that clinicians screen adolescents and adults aged 15-65 years for HIV infection.

In recent Medscape article, clinicians recommend instead of waiting for patients to ask for the test, it is critical to advise them that they will be screened for HIV according to the CDC's recommendation unless they opt out. And although routine HIV screening is a key step in identifying people with HIV, testing doesn't benefit patients unless we link them to appropriate medical care and services. For those who test positive, starting antiretroviral treatment after diagnosis is essential for improving health outcomes.

CDC also recommends giving information on how to prevent infection, such as using condoms, engaging in less risky sex, and taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)—a once-daily pill that can reduce acquisition by 92% when taken as directed.