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Unique Challenges in Fight Against AIDS Among Latinos in No. VA

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Health agencies across our region are marking National Latino AIDS Awareness Day today.

Health workers and educators in Northern Virginia say the fight against HIV/AIDS in their Latino communities may be even harder than it is within the DC city limits

Yvonne Williams is the executive director of K.I. Services a non profit health agency working across Northern Virginia. She says one thing has remained constant in her 7-year quest to get more Latinos tested for HIV/AIDS.

"People don't want to come in because they think they're going to get deported," she says.

Felisa Baptista a health counselor for Alexandria's Health department says a bigger issue for Latinos in Northern Virginia suburbs is getting to treatment centers once they decide to get tested.

Baptista, who's been working with Alexandria for 15 years says now she sees Latinos walking into health clinics and asking for condoms something they never did when she first started working there.

Many people who works with Latino populations say data is unreliable because undocumented residents are, well, undocumented.

But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Latinos, who make up 13 percent of the population, make up 18 percent of all new AIDS cases.

Jonathan Wilson reports...

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