One-Third of New AIDS Cases in California Occur Among Latinos, Bonta Says
Recognizing Saturday as World AIDS Day, Department of Health Services Director Diana Bonta noted that new statistics show that one out of every three new AIDS cases in California occurs among Latinos, the Sacramento Bee reports. Bonta's remarks come after the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation released a new study showing that Latinos accounted for 19% of new AIDS cases nationwide last year, although they represent just 14% of the U.S. population. The Bee reports that the statistics "seem to be linked" to an increasing number of AIDS cases in Mexico. Bonta said, "We are seeing migrants come into California, spend time, get infected and return to their home communities and spread the disease to others." The state has increased AIDS education efforts in Latino neighborhoods and is working with the Mexican government on a "very aggressive" AIDS education campaign, Bonta said. In addition, California has partnered with Arizona, Texas and New Mexico to establish a U.S.-Mexico office to address cross-border AIDS issues. Still, Bonta noted that "there are many problems that are unique to the Latino culture that make it difficult for us to cut down the spread of the infection." She said that talking about sexuality is "frequently taboo" in the Latino community and added that some Latinos mistakenly believe that available AIDS treatments can cure the disease (O'Rourke, Sacramento Bee, 12/1).