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October 15 is National Latino AIDS Awareness Day

October 15 is National Latino AIDS Awareness Day  HIV

October 15 is National Latino AIDS Awareness Day. HIV remains a significant threat to the health of Latino communities in the United States. Latinos are becoming infected with HIV at a rate three times greater than whites; and while Latinos represent just 15 percent of the U.S. population, they make up 18 percent of those living with HIV/AIDS. Among Latinos, men who have sex with men are the most heavily affected by HIV, accounting for more than half of all new HIV infections among this population group in 2006.

Different Cultures, Different Health Issues

Mom and Child

Though they share many aspects of a common heritage, Hispanic cultures vary significantly by country of origin – and these differences extend into health issues. For example, Puerto Ricans suffer disproportionately from asthma, HIV/AIDS, and infant mortality, while Mexican Americans suffer disproportionately from diabetes. Language and cultural barriers, lack of access to preventative care, and lack of health insurance are some of the common challenges Hispanics face. To learn more about different health issues facing Hispanics, click here

Health Insurance Coverage Rates Lower Among Hispanics


The rate of insurance coverage among Hispanics is lower than the rate for the U.S. population as a whole. According to recently-released CDC data, 29.4% of Hispanic persons were uninsured in 2007.

Hispanics in Public Health:

CDC′s Hispanic employees play pivotal roles in protecting global public health. They come from across the U.S. and Latin America to work as doctors, epidemiologists, microbiologists, computer experts, program managers and administrators. Here are just a few stories of CDC's Hispanic employees working at the forefront of global health.

    Nlson Arboleda
  • Nelson Arboleda, MD, MPH, a native Colombian, enjoys his job, especially “being able to work daily on assessing and responding to vaccine-related adverse events to ensure that the benefits of vaccines continue to be far greater than the risks; as well as leading the preparedness and response efforts to monitor vaccine safety during emergencies and mass vaccination campaigns (i.e., an influenza pandemic).” While working with children suffering from landmine injuries in Colombia, he made a commitment to work on treating the children who were unfortunate victims of war and had received their injuries from bombs which, at times, were disguised as common items such as soccer balls, radios, and teddy bears. He went to New Orleans during the response to Hurricane Katrina to work on hospital-based disease surveillance, and has worked in India to prevent polio.
  • Teresa Diaz
  • Theresa Diaz, MD, MPH, is Branch Chief, Epidemiology and Strategic Information Branch, Global AIDS Program, NCHHSTP. Diaz was born and raised in New York. Her mother was born in Puerto Rico and her father′s parents were born in Puerto Rico. “So I am what they call New York Rican,” she says. Working for CDC allows her to work all over the world and throughout the US. She was stationed in Puerto Rico, Atlanta, New York City and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She is an international expert on HIV/AIDS surveillance and has traveled to over 7 African countries, almost all the countries in Central America, many of the Caribbean countries and Thailand.
  • Ruth Perou
  • Ruth Perou has been at CDC 15 years. She is Child Development Team Leader, Division of Human Development and Disability, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. “I am a developmental psychologist by training and wanted to work in a field that could result in a positive impact on children′s lives,” says Perou. She was born in Guantanamo, Cuba, and moved to the U.S. when she was four. One of her most important project is the Legacy for Children™ study, which works on parenting interventions with low-income families.

CDC Abroad

CDC in Latin America

In today's world of increasing globalization, the United States continually faces new challenges and opportunities in public health. In partnership with other parts of the US government, public health officials throughout the world, and host countries, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) works to protect and promote global health in many areas, including many countries in Latin America and the Carribean.

  • CDC has several offices in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
    • Dengue Branch- CDC′s Dengue Branch in San Juan, Puerto Rico, is responsible for national and international surveillance of dengue and dengue hemorrhagic fever.
    • San Juan Quarantine Station - CDC′s San Juan Quarantine Station responds to reports of illness or death on airplanes and maritime vessels (cruise and cargo) at all ports in Puerto Rico and the U. S. Virgin Islands (St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John).
  • Global Disease Detection in Guatemala - To make early detection and containment a reality around the world, CDC is developing a network of Global Disease Detection (GDD) Centers in partnership with Ministries of Health.


  • Page last reviewed: October 9, 2008
  • Page last updated: October 9, 2008
  • Content source: Office of Enterprise Communication
  • Notice: Links to non-governmental sites do not necessarily represent the views of the CDC.





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