BY: JACQUELINE COLEMAN • OCTOBER 15, 2015
In this Special Edition Newsletter, NMAC recognizesLatino HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. We spotlight Rodrigo Pascal, a Latino activist and advocate from Chile, South America for his global role in fighting prejudices against people with HIV/AIDS. We continue the newsletter with a profile of three Latino youth leaders in NMAC's 2015 Youth Initiative sponsored by ViiV Healthcare & Magic Johnson Foundation, . Since the 2015 USCA , Manny Venegas, Seattle, Washington, Amanda Rodriguezand Jose Nazario both of PuertoRico, have re-dedicated and declared themselves as emerging leaders in the struggle against HIV armed with information, knowledge and lessons learned at the conference. Read more about their planned 2015 National Latino AIDS Awareness Day activities and events.
Moisés Agosto-Rosario, NMAC Director of Treatment offers an expert perspective on the relevancy of this awareness day and the significant work ahead to turn the tide on HIV prevention and treatment/care for Latinos. Thanks to these global and domestic champions and others who dare to dream of a day without HIV.
With NMAC’s quest to lead with race, our vision is to end health disparities by race, and the country is marking record low new incidence rates in a waning epidemic. When this becomes reality, the numbers of new infections among Hispanics and Latinos will be significantly lowered and the cultural and socioeconomic factors will be fully addressed in order to mitigate the risks and barriers to counseling, testing and treatment. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, ‘HIV infection is a serious threat to the health of the Hispanic/Latino community. In 2010, Hispanics/Latinos accounted for over one-fifth (21% or 9,800) of all new HIV infections in the United States and 6 dependent areas despite representing about 16% of the total US population. The six dependent areas refer to American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the Republic of Palau, and the US Virgin Islands.
Latino Activist & Advocate – Global Leadership
UNAIDS, served on the Community Program Committee for the XIX International AIDS Conference in 2012.
Human Rights Activist and Advocate. Pascal is a person living with HIV and a passionate activist and advocate for human rights, access to HIV prevention and treatment and for non discrimination towards people living with HIV (PLHIV). He has been Partnership Advisor at the UNAIDS Civil Society Partnerships Team since 2008. Pascal is co- founder of the Chilean National Network of PLHIV and was the organization's Executive Coordinator from 1999 to 2005. He co- founded The Latin American Network of PLHIV and the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition. Pascal was also an alternate member of the Global Fund Board from 2002 until 2004. He is creating a model for citizen response to turn the formerly specialized problem of HIV/AIDS into a public health concern in which everyone has a stake. He brings together grassroots groups created by and for people with HIV/AIDS to advocate for health and labor rights and to work in coordination with the public health system to help meet the needs of this population. [http://edit.ashoka.org/fellow/rodrigo-pascal]
Director of Treatment
The National Latino AIDS Awareness day allows us to call on advocates to engage in the fight against HIV. In an epidemic where U.S. Hispanics/Latinos are three times more likely to be diagnosed with HIV than whites, with rising rates in gay men, leadership and action is imperative. There is a lack of representation in the national discussions on HIV and Latinos. New and young leaders are very much needed to effectively address the needs of the community.