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LLEGÓ Marks National LGBT Health Awareness Week

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Since the first U.S. warning on June 5, 1981, more than 750,000 cases of AIDS have been reported in the U.S., and almost half a million Americans have died of the disease.

Twenty years later, AIDS infection rates have risen dramatically affecting African-Americans and Latinos at a higher rate than any other ethnic or racial group.

A recent study by Rafael Díaz and George Ayala found that poverty, racism and homophobia are attributed to high sexual risk behaviors among Latino gay and bisexual men.

Homophobia and social-cultural norms greatly affect gay and bisexual men of color in discouraging this population from obtaining HIV prevention services and HIV tests. The following barriers for MSM of color have been identified:

Many African-American and Latino MSM do not identify as gay or bisexual due to cultural censure of homosexuality.

HIV/AIDS and health wellness are not priorities (other issues such as immigration, employment, food, education, homelessness, mental health, and poverty are higher priorities).

Lack of individual self-worth/low self-esteem (i.e., because of social factors many African American and Latino males do not expect to live to age 30, therefore HIV/AIDS is not a priority.)

Prevention messages are not culturally competent or age appropriate to sub populations of MSM.

HIV/AIDS is no longer a life-threatening illness because of advances in antiretroviral therapies.

Illegal immigrants are reluctant to access prevention services for fear of being reported to Immigration and Naturalization Services.

LLEG" acts as the lead agency in coordinating capacity-building services to strengthen the programmatic core competencies of directly funded community-based organizations serving Latino populations for HIV prevention through three programs:

Avanzando (Striving Forward) is a program that addresses the need to have centrally coordinated and culturally based capacity-building assistance services for Latino populations

Horizontes (Horizons) is a program that builds the leadership skills of gay and bisexual Latino men as a means of strengthening and mobilizing community efforts for HIV prevention.

FuturoAquí was developed to complement the work of the LGBTQ youth movement throughout the U.S., which is often unaware of how race, culture, sexual orientation and gender identity come together when dealing with HIV/AIDS.

For more information about LLEG" please log on to .

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