San Rafael, CA, October 11, 2017– On October 15 the U.S. commemorates National Latinx AIDS Awareness (NLAAD), an opportunity to bring together Latino communities and HIV service providers and organizations under one theme: “Be a Superhero. Defeat HIV.”

This year’s theme is around superheroes. Why? To give a message that each and every one of us has a role to play in defeating HIV, but more importantly it’s going to take a team of community members – a team of superheroes – to defeat HIV. Each one of us has a “superpower” such as: taking an HIV test, practicing safer sex, using PrEP, receiving treatment, and becoming undetectable.

In 2015, there were 40,040 cases of new HIV diagnoses in the United States. Hispanics/Latinos account for almost 1 in 4 (24%) of these new diagnoses (9,798), despite representing only 18 percent of the national population. In Marin, members of the Latinx community account for 28% the new HIV diagnoses.   New diagnoses among Hispanics/Latinos have remained constant during the past 5 years while the incidence of new diagnoses have decreased in the other ethnic groups.  We are seeing the impact of stigma, homophobia, transphobia on creating major barriers in accessing HIV testing, prevention, treatment and care in our Latinx community.  Given that Hispanics/Latinos are the largest and fastest growing minority group in the U.S., addressing HIV/AIDS in this community is essential to our nation’s health.

The Spahr Center, 910 Irwin Street, San Rafael provides free, HIV and Hepatitis C rapid testing in English and Spanish.  We use the latest technology: the Determine Fourth Generation Antigen/Antibody test to detect infection early.  You receive your confidential results in twenty minutes.  Drop in clinics are Tuesday and Thursday, 4:30 to 7PM.  More information including help with getting PrEP, the once a day pill that prevents HIV, is available by calling 415-457-2487.