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D.C.'s Latino Community Tackles Rising Rates Of HIV Infection

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By Cathy Carter

D.C.'s rate of HIV infection within the city's Latino population continues to grow, but some health advocates are commending local Hispanic leaders for their proactive approach in combating the virus.

La Clinica Del Pueblo offers free HIV testing at their 15th Street clinic six days a week. They've also partnered with D.C.'s Whitman Walker Clinic to offer testing at Latino nightclubs and at various mobile testing sites, most notably in the Columbia Heights neighborhood.

"There are a lot of very smart, very caring, very driven people in the Latino community who are very committed to making certain that HIV does not become the thing that kills off the Latino community," says Pernell Williams, Community Health Manager for the Whitman Walker Clinic.

That facility has increased its number of Spanish speaking staff members. Williams says there's a very real potential that HIV outreach programs in D.C.'s Latino community will serve as a model for preventing the virus from becoming the scourge that it has been when it's attacked other minority communities.

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