National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day: Because All of Us Matter

The National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, was founded to renew the commitment to struggle against the disease and to remind gay men to protect themselves and their partners. The CDC estimates that men who have sex with men (MSM) accounted for 49 percent of people with the virus in the United States during 2008.


Although there have been many accomplishments since the first HIV cases were reported in the early 80’s, the epidemic is far from over. Today gay men have a higher than average risk of contracting HIV because many of them are infected already and do not know it. For example, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates of the 1.2 million Americans living with HIV at the end of 2008, 20% of them were unaware of their status.


Latinos are not exempted of this epidemic as Latino men who have sex with men (MSM) accounted for 81% (6,000) of new HIV infections among all Latino men and 20% among all MSM.


Homophobia, stigma, and discrimination  across all communities put gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) at risk for multiple physical and mental health problems that can affect their access to high-quality health services. Negative attitudes about homosexuality can lead to rejection by friends, family, and discriminatory acts. These attitudes can increase stress, limit social support, and negatively affect health.

A Spanish-language radio drama is aiming to break the silence surrounding homosexuality and its acceptance in California’s rural communities, where thousands of agricultural workers toil in fields while listening to the radio. A radionovela, “Bienvenidos a Casa,” or “Welcome Home,” now available online was first broadcasted across the Central Valley in early 2012. The novela tells the story of Carlos, a Latino teen who is rejected by his friends and family for being gay then finds acceptance with his mother and neighbors.


The radionovela is among the first information about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues to reach rural Latino farmworker communities in a language and format that’s accessible. The three-episode radionovela, developed in collaboration with San Francisco State University and California Rural Legal Assistance, was based on input from community focus groups and performed by community volunteers.

Listen to episodes at  www.RadioBilingue.org.


As part of this National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, we invite all communities, especially Latino gay men and men who have sex with men to join the Act Against AIDS campaign by getting the facts and getting tested.


Farmworker Justice has partnered with CDC's Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative (AAALI), a multi-year national communication initiative to reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS among diverse communities.


To learn how you can act against AIDS, please visit www.actagainstaids.org