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Latinos less likely to be offered HIV tests

A recent study found that primary health care providers in predominantly Latino communities offer little counseling, safe-sex advice and HIV testing for their patients.

In its introduction, the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) AIDS Institute’s probe indicated that sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), are increasing among the U.S. Latino population, particularly in states like California, which boasts one-third of the Hispanic population.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that current numbers of HIV and AIDS cases among Latinos are not increasing as quickly as the population figures reported by the Census, however, the impact of HIV and AIDS in Latino communities is disproportionate when compared to other racial and ethnic groups.

“In 2000, Latinos represented 13 percent of the U.S. population (including residents of Puerto Rico), but accounted for 19 percent of the total number of new AIDS cases reported among adults and adolescents (8,140 of 41,960 cases). The annual reported AIDS rate per 100,000 population (the number of new cases of a disease reported during a specific time period) among Latinos in 2000 was 30.4. This was almost four times the rate for Whites (7.9), but lower than the rate for African Americans (74.2),” the CDC indicated.

“The STI and HIV Testing Practices of Primary Care Providers” was published in this month’s Journal of the National Medical Association. It anonymously surveyed primary care providers (PCPs) who practiced in mostly Latino communities in L.A. County between March and June 2004. It used providers listed in the California Medical Board Directory, California Latino Medical Association Directory and the Hispanic Independent Physician Association Directory for Los Angeles County.

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