HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 11

healthcare system. An intersectional
perspective is vital to understanding the
experiences and consequences of living with
multiple identities, such as being a Latino
MSM in America living with HIV. We need
to encourage health institutions to develop
introspective processes to better serve communities
whose well-being and health have
been long neglected due to socioeconomic
disparities.
Insight Two: Interruptions in care
happen for many reasons beyond Latinx
men's control.
Many of the challenges the Latinx population
faces are beyond their control. These individuals
feel misunderstood and are often faced
with the implication of institutional racism,
discrimination, stigma, and marginalization
when seeking medical help.
We need to embrace other conditions, identities
and develop a commitment to reducing
health disparities in making lasting improvements
in health and wellness in our diverse
communities. Our communities need strategies
to navigate a segmented healthcare system
without missing perspective of the intersectionality
and advocate to change the healthcare
system. We need to create a more integrated
approach and drive to improve health outcomes
free of stigma and discrimination.
Insight Three: Immigrant sentiment
and anti-immigration laws have a powerful
eff ect on Latinx men's health.
One of the most prominent examples of
discrimination that this group faces is the
impact of the sweeping political and media
attention to immigration seen in the past decade.
Latino patients and providers described
a heightened sense of fear as a primary
outcome of such laws and sentiment, causing
them to delay or avoid healthcare.
Fears of deportation are a big challenge
amongst immigrant communities. Creating
awareness about where to test for HIV and
receive services without those fears is essential.
The U.S. laws vary by state, which is
critical when dealing with perceived and real
fears for testing. There is also a need to deal
with immigration policies (immigration is a
federal law) as barriers to accessing health
services. Creating awareness and developing
favorable policies promote access to health
for all, regardless of immigration status.
Insight Four: Latinx men want diverse
and responsive care that refl ects their
needs, identity and language.
As a country, we need to recognize that access
to healthcare for immigrants is an important
public health issue and needs to be addressed
with a national policy on healthcare for noncitizen
and undocumented immigrants. Until
we do this, these Hispanic/Latino men living
with HIV will continue to face disparities in
care - including that for HIV disease.
Unfortunately, anti-immigrant rhetoric
has impacted the health profession and
providers' attitudes towards immigrants and
disenfranchised communities. This stigma
creates another critical barrier to access
to care. To better understand the Latinx
community, leaders and advocates need to
address the need for more culturally responsive
training for healthcare providers beyond
just speaking Spanish. Developing trust and
building closer relationships between Latino
MSM and healthcare providers and establishing
routines that promote and support
patient trust are keys to improving treatment
among immigrant communities.
With both ethical and professional obligations,
the healthcare industry should be
developing new and innovative strategies to
support safety-net health care facilities, such
as community health centers and hospitals
that provide a disproportionate share of care
for patients who are uninsured and from low
socioeconomic status.
Insight Five: Networks and services by
and for Latinx men, especially youth,
can help link and keep men in care.
Vulnerable Hispanic/Latino men living with
HIV feel too isolated by the healthcare system.
The socioeconomic health disparities
this group faces have become incredibly clear
during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our responsibility
is to remind the general public and
policymakers that HIV is not over. COVID-19
is a major pandemic that has created an extra
layer to the HIV epidemic. We need more
than ever to come together to respond to the
impact of COVID-19 without abandoning the
mission and vision to design a world without
AIDS and to fi nd a cure for HIV.
To address all the challenges that Latinx
men face, we need to create open communication
lines with this community through
advocacy networks. Across all cities, many
people agree that engaging and developing
young, gay Latinx as leaders, ambassadors,
navigators, and mentors is crucial if we want
to move forward.
If we want to properly respond to the
rising HIV epidemic within the Latinx appropriately,
we need to immediately address
these community challenges. Like all eff orts
to end the social stigma surrounding HIV, we
need to learn to listen, understand, respect
and embrace the communities at risk and act
accordingly.
Tal Como Soy/Here as I Am is available
online in Spanish and English. HIV
GUILLERMO CHACÓN is President,
Latino Commission on AIDS and founder
of the Hispanic Health Network. Since
2010, Guillermo has served as President
of the Latino Commission on AIDS,
where he is a vocal advocate on the impact of HIV,
viral hepatitis, Sexually Transmitted Infections in
Hispanic/Latinx communities. Under his leadership,
the Commission has invested in national community
mobilization programs to promote HIV testing and
linkage to care and capacity building programing
nationwide and special investment in our regional
work in the South of the United States.
Guillermo work focus on develop agendas
on health policy issues aff ecting the health of
Hispanics. Chacón was appointed by Mayor Bill de
Blasio to serve in the NYC Commissioner of Human
Right in November 2019, to the HIV/AIDS Services
Administration (HASA) community advisory board
and the Committee on New York City Healthcare
Services. Governor Cuomo appointed Chacón to
the New York State AIDS Advisory Council and
re-nominated him for the New York State Minority
Health Council, where the New York State Senate later
confi rmed him in July 2020. Guillermo Chacon also
serves on various Boards and Committees, NYS COVID
19 Vaccination Equity Taskforce, NYC COVID19 Vaccine,
Test & Tracing (T2) program as part of Community
Advisory Committee (CAB T2), the National
Hispanic/Latinx Health Leadership Network, New
York Immigration Coalition, the New York City AIDS
Memorial, advisor for Alianza Americas, AIDSVu.org,
and co-chairs the Latino Jewish Coalition in New York.
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HIV Specialist - June 2021

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