In 2009, Latinos accounted for 20% of new HIV infections in the United States while representing approximately 16% of the total U.S. population. At some point in life, 1 in 36 Latino men will be diagnosed with HIV, as will 1 in 106 Latina women. Farmworkers are likely to have a similar profile to Latinos. Unfortunately, the vast majority of epidemiological data on HIV prevalence among farmworkers is based on small, local studies conducted more than a decade ago. In 1992, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found a prevalence rate of 5% among 310 farmworkers tested in Immokalee, Florida. A few other small studies have reported rates ranging from 0.47% to 13%.
There are approximately two million hired agricultural workers in this country. Given the absence of national data on HIV infection rates among farmworkers, we do not know how many are infected, but useful inferences may be drawn from statistics collected on Latinos in the United States since a staggering 83% of farmworkers self-identify as Latino. And we do know that Latinos are disproportionately impacted by the epidemic.
This is why Farmworker Justice has partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative to focus awareness and education efforts on one of the most vulnerable and marginalized groups in the U.S.: farmworkers.
Farmworker Justice’s Aliados project is not only working with its network of farmworker organizations but is also collaborating with the National Council of La Raza to reach their Affiliate Members. We are drawing on these farmworker and Latino organizations across the county to help increase HIV/AIDS knowledge and awareness and decrease HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination, including the belief that HIV only happens to “other” people.
Through this project, FJ provides free training, information, webinars, and tools on HIV prevention to strengthen non-HIV organizations’ awareness, knowledge, and action within Latino communities across the United States.
Our Aliados project has three major components:
Awareness: Through newsletters and email updates, Farmworker Justice keeps organizations updated on the current state of HIV/AIDS in the Latino community.
We provide webinars, trainings, and conference presentations on HIV-related topics. All activities are free and available to everyone. Only through knowledge can we begin to bridge the gap in HIV prevention.
Action: We work with organizations, large and small, rural and urban, become more involved in the fight against HIV. Through HIV/AIDS Awareness Days, local events, and community partnerships there are many ways organizations can become involved. FJ also works with community partners to provide HIV testing at conferences, health forums, and other community events.
Thanks to the AAALI partnership, Farmworker Justice is able to work closely with organizations that are often left out of traditionally targeted HIV prevention campaigns.
If you or your organization would like to learn more about our Aliados project please contact Kattrina Merlo, the Aliados Project Director.