New Ad Campaign Urges Mexican Men to Seek HIV Testing and Care Services

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

In advance of National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (Oct. 15), the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) has launched “Salud y Orgullo Mexicano,” a citywide project designed to encourage Mexican men to connect to HIV testing and care services.

Salud y Orgullo Mexicano (SOM), which means “Mexican health and pride,” aims to remove barriers to HIV testing and care for people of Mexican descent, the largest subset of the Latino population in Chicago. The project works to connect Mexican men to services at Erie Family Health Center in Humboldt Park (2750 West North Avenue), home of the Lending Hands for Life program which offers a range of services from HIV testing and medical care to emotional support.

Latinos are disproportionately affected by HIV; they make up 16 percent of the U.S. population, but account for 21 percent of new HIV infections. When it comes to HIV testing, Latinos face three major obstacles: lack of access to health care, fear of stigma, and low perception of HIV risk. And once they are diagnosed with HIV, barriers to treatment often include lack of health insurance, difficulty navigating the U.S. health care system, and a shortage of culturally competent health care facilities.

The initiative is one of ten Special Projects of National Significance funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to improve health outcomes among Latinos who are vulnerable to contracting HIV or living with the disease.

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