San Diego Latinos SOL After Local HIV/AIDS Center Closes

After 10 years providing thousands of LGBT Latinos with HIV/AIDS services, Edge San Diego has reported that the San Diego branch of the Los Angeles-based nonprofit Bienestar (Spanish for “well-being”) has shut its doors due to financial strain. The state slashed AIDS funding two years ago, the branch did not receive its expected grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and now the nearest Bienestar to San Diego resides 100 miles away in Long Beach. Great.

Though they hope to find additional funding to reopen, Bienestar’s director of programs and public affairs Victor Martinez said that any organization doing their work in the meanwhile will have to spend a long time re-gaining the public trust. “It’s not enough to be able to speak the language,” Martinez said. “They also have to understand the culture, so it will be a process and it will take time for this community that we’ve developed to feel comfortable with other organizations.”

Martinez added that 70 percent of Latinos with HIV develop AIDS within 12 months of infection, and about 40 percent of those don’t find out they’re HIV positive until they already have AIDS, making it important to identify HIV in Latino communities early.

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  • QJ201

    “Martinez added that 70 percent of Latinos develop AIDS within 12 months of HIV

    This statement is incorrect. Either it was misquoted or Mr. Martinez has his facts wrong.

    70% of latinos may develop AIDS with 12 months of an HIV diagnosis, but the medical facts are that it takes 8-11 years for most people to develop AIDS after infection with HIV.

  • t money

    the statement is correct. it is about latinos. he didnt say it was about anyone else.

  • Mitch

    @QJ201: The 8-10 year time frame is either a total load of shit or a mean average incorporating nonprogressors, elite controllers and others who are genetically blessed. The overwhelming majority of people I know who were infected, myself included, needed to be on meds within two years of their exposure, with one guy (white, if it matters) progressing from negative to AIDS within seven months. The ten year estimate is not reflective of what I actually see on a daily basis, and its not in synch with what the original thinking was about HIV. Its odd that we keep quoting it.

  • JasonSabio

    @QJ201: Victor’s statement is entirely correct. There is a big difference between a HIV diagnosis and a HIV transmission. It does take 8-10 years for the average person to develop AIDS after contracting HIV. But a diagnosis only comes after you test positive, and if you waited many years to get tested you are already well into that 8-10 year average time-frame.

    The point he is trying to make is that Latinos, in general, don’t have the resources or outreach programs telling them to get tested as often as other communities (and because of undocumented witch-hunts they’re afraid to use the resources that are available). This means higher transmission rates because there are so many with unknown status and a faster development of AIDS due to their late diagnosis.

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