An estimated 70 percent of HIV-positive Latino gay and bisexual men between the ages of 18 and 24 are not aware of their condition, but a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ad campaign aims to change that statistic.
The CDC campaign is titled Reasons/Razones, and it is focused in areas with high populations of gay or bisexual Latino men, specifically with increased rates of HIV. The ads feature young men listing reasons for getting screened, namely their health, their friends and their futures. They have been launched in both English and Spanish.
"By getting personal about the reasons to get tested, this campaign helps gay and bisexual Latinos recognize the importance of knowing their HIV status," said Jonathan Lopez, who is featured in the ads. "I hope that other gay Latinos will join me in removing the stigma around HIV so that testing can be more routine for at-risk men."
More than 150 Latino gay and bisexual men gave their input for the ads, in addition to infectious disease experts and community leaders. The campaign was first launched in LA, a city experiencing dramatically high rates of HIV, on June 6.
HIV in Latino LGBT males
This demographic has a specific need for increased knowledge on STD testing, as such a high percentage of the infected is unaware of its status. Latinos make up roughly 16 percent of the national total population, but represented 21 percent of new HIV infections in 2011, according to the CDC. In the Latino community, gay and bisexual men consist of eight out of 10 new HIV infections in the same year. The source recommends at least annual HIV screening for sexually active men who have sex with men.