Report Assesses Gang Members’ HIV Risks
Los Angeles gang members are especially at high risk for contracting HIV because they engage in behaviors such as injection drug use and unprotected sex and have limited knowledge about the disease, according to a city-commissioned report scheduled to be released Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The study surveyed 300 gang members, about half of whom agreed to be tested for HIV. The survey found:
- One gang member tested positive for HIV;
- Nearly 90% said they had had unprotected sex in the past year;
- 31% said they believed a vaccine that prevents contraction of HIV has recently been developed;
- 54% said their friends would avoid them if they were HIV-positive; and
- 91% said their communities need more information on HIV.
Stephen Simon, the city's AIDS Office coordinator, said he will recommend the agency work with gang intervention groups and launch an informational campaign, which could cost up to $200,000.
City Council member Tony Cardenas, chair of the city's gang violence committee, will introduce a motion supporting Simon's recommendation (Doan, Los Angeles Times, 4/5). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.