Latino HIV Awareness Day
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10/19/09 Concetta DeLuco
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday | Listen to this entire show:

October 15 was Latino HIV Aids Awareness Day. The Highpoint YMCA in Clearwater helped raise awareness this past weekend by throwing a Fall Health Awareness Festival Fair.

Ebony Murray is a single mother who lives in the High Point community surrounding the YMCA. She said she recalls what it was like to not have the proper healthcare when she gave birth to her first child. Ebony now has insurance through her job. She said that most people in her community are not as lucky to have healthcare, like Medicaid, for several reasons.

High point is a low-income to moderate-income community that has a large black and Latino population. Lynn Swain is from the Pinellas County Health Department. She said not having healthcare is a problem for Latinos, especially when it comes to HIV. While Latinos make up only 13% of the American population, they make up 18% of new HIV cases each year.

YMCA volunteer Kaisha Alomar said that beyond HIV treatment, a lot of the Latinos, specifically, in High Point do not get the general medical care they need.

The YMCA health fair on Saturday offered free health screenings that included HIV testing, glucose monitors, and high blood pressure tests. Joshua Armstrong is a nurse with the Pinellas County Health Department that distributed some of the tests. Armstrong said he was there to help bridge the gap between low income Latino families and healthcare.

YMCA’s George Garcia said there is even help for undocumented Hispanics.

Overall, Dante Ross from the Pinellas County Health Department said he feels the event was a success.

And Ebony Murray agrees. She said future events like these are important for the minorities in her community.

More information can be found about free HIV and health screenings at http://pinellashealth.com.

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