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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
VIRGINIA: State HIV Campaign Targets Hispanics
Christy Goodman
June 26, 2007
Washington Post (06.24.07) - Tuesday, June 26, 2007

In concert with National HIV Testing Day on Wednesday, a statewide campaign is using Spanish radio to encourage Hispanics in Northern Virginia to get tested and know their HIV status.

In Northern Virginia, Hispanics comprise 11 percent of the population reported to have HIV, a "higher percentage than any other part of the state," said Kathryn Hafford, acting director of the state health department's division of disease prevention. "If you watch the trend over the years, the numbers have been consistently going up. The numbers are small, just a few cases each year, but we are seeing it going up." The $50,000 campaign seeks to further the idea that people who are not in high-risk groups should still get tested. "There are many people out there who are HIV-infected and don't know it. The prediction is one in four people with HIV doesn't know it. That translates to 7,000 Virginians," said Lucy Caldwell, state health department spokesperson.

The statewide effort is focusing on urban areas and minorities. "Historically, these populations have more difficult access to care and are underserved," said Hafford. "And they are disproportionately affected by HIV in comparison to the white population." On Wednesday, numerous organizations in Northern Virginia will offer free HIV testing.