|DOH Home >> Press Releases|
PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
|Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D.|
For Further Information Contact:
The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services is coordinating with agencies throughout the state in a series of events to commemorate National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD), raise understanding of the impact of HIV/AIDS on the Latino community, and encourage people to learn their HIV status. The theme this year is "Saber es Poder. Informate. Hazte la Prueba del VIH", or "Knowledge is Power. Get the Facts. Get Tested for HIV."
"HIV/AIDS disproportionately impacts members of the Latino community in New Jersey, and that is unacceptable," said DHSS Commissioner Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D. "Through concerted and cooperative efforts, our partners in the community and DHSS are dedicated to reducing these disparities and improving the health of Latinos in our state."
Latinos account for just 14 percent of New Jersey's population yet 20 percent of all new HIV infections. As a result, one in every 185 Latinos is infected with HIV. Eighteen percent of women living with HIV in New Jersey are Latina, and 63 percent of those infections are the result of heterosexual contacts.
National Latino AIDS Awareness Day is celebrated this year on Sunday, October 15. Health fairs, Rapid HIV testing clinics, press conferences and community organization open houses are to be held throughout the week.
In conjunction with NLAAD 2005, DHSS announced a $600,000 initiative to reduce HIV/AIDS disparities in the Latino community through the development of a network of bilingual part-time community health workers called Promotores, or promoters. These professionals are trained to do intensive outreach, and work during evening and weekend hours in neighborhood locations such as houses of faith, malls and other community locations to identify people at risk who have not yet learned their HIV status.
All six agencies that received Promotores grants -- El Club del Barrio; Horizon Health in Jersey City; PROCEED in Elizabeth; the Hispanic Family Center in Camden; the Spanish Community Center in Atlantic City; and the City of Trenton – have fully implemented their programs. DHSS is cosponsoring special events with each of these agencies to highlight the availability of local Rapid HIV testing and other free and low-cost health services.
"The first step to preventing the continued disproportionate spread of AIDS in the Latino community to ensure each individual knows their HIV status," said Dr. Jacobs. "These agencies are doing excellent work in extending the reach of Rapid HIV testing to high risk communities, and we are proud to support their efforts."
The Rapid test is important in decreasing the spread of HIV because it overcomes a major obstacle in HIV testing. Getting the results in 20 minutes means people no longer have to wait one or two weeks and return to the testing site to receive their results.
In 2003, before Rapid HIV testing was available, New Jersey’s publicly funded counseling and testing sites performed 67,941 HIV tests. Of those, 23,230 people—or 34 percent—never returned to the testing site for the results. With the Rapid HIV test, clients receive their results 99.3 percent of the time. As a result, more than 25,000 additional New Jerseyans learned their HIV status.
The DHSS co-sponsored events are as follows:
Saturday, October 14, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (completed): El Club del Barrio (Newark) and PROCEED of Elizabeth will host a health fair with Rapid HIV testing and other health screening at Elmwood Park in Newark.
Monday, October 16, 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.: PROCEED will sponsor an event named "Celebra la Vida … Cuida Tu Salud" or "Celebrate Life … Search for Your Health" with Rapid HIV testing, health screening and educational programs.
Monday, October 16, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.: Horizon Health Center will conduct a health fair with Rapid HIV testing, health screenings and information booths from various local community organizations at the XTRA Supermarket in the Greenville section of Jersey City.
Monday, October 16, 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.: The Spanish Community Center and the Atlantic City Health Department will hold an open house with Rapid HIV testing and other screenings at 2900 Ventor Avenue in Atlantic City.
Monday, October 16, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.: The City of Trenton and El Centro de Recursos will host a health fair with Rapid HIV testing and educational materials at 1 Center Street in Trenton.
Week of October 16 through October 20: The Hispanic Family Center of Southern NJ will be conducting a number of Rapid HIV testing programs with a specially outfitted minivan in various communities throughout Camden.
Department of Health
P. O. Box 360, Trenton, NJ 08625-0360