The Latino Commission on AIDS has joined forces with pharmaceutical company Merck in an effort to connect with Hispanics regarding HIV/AIDS education and treatment strategies. According to the official statement, the program, Sharing Stories, Creating Hope, is a bilingual multimedia campaign connecting “the stories of health-care providers and Latinos/Hispanics living with HIV to demonstrate culturally-relevant HIV care strategies.”
Approximately 20 percent of all new HIV cases are Hispanics, according to the Latino Commission on AIDS, and delayed diagnosis and treatment leads to complications. Through Sharing Stories, Creating Hope, medical professionals will have a new way of strengthening the doctor-patient relationships so vital to continual treatment.
“Making a culturally relevant campaign accessible to providers and people living with HIV in order to further educate about the benefits of accessing HIV care and staying in treatment is critical,” said Guillermo Chacon, President, Latino Commission on AIDS.
The main components in the Sharing Stories, Creating Hope campaign include bilingual, educational videos relaying treatment options; providing relatable stories of other Hispanic HIV sufferers; and providing bilingual tools for HIV support groups.
Chacon says he is proud to work with Merck on the important initiative.
“Merck has a longstanding history of collaborating with the HIV community to reduce healthcare disparities in treatment and care,” said Chirfi Guindo, Merck General Manager and Global Commercial Leader, HIV. “We are proud to support the Sharing Stories, Creating Hope campaign that transforms the experiences of individuals into concrete strategies to improve linkage to and retention in HIV care.”
The partnership will provide yet another tool for the disproportionately HIV-affected Hispanic community, though the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) point out many other hurdles exist.
According to the CDC, Latinos have low HIV prevention numbers due to high rates of drug use, the presence of sexually transmitted infections, cultural factors preventing early treatment, acculturation, poverty, and fear of disclosure.
Read the official statement