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Events to Call Attention to AIDS and Latinos

Oct. 12, 2004 – The American Red Cross of the Virgin Islands has planned events on St. Thomas and St. John in observance of the second annual Latino AIDS Awareness Day.
The Red Cross team will be at Cap's Place, a bar in Cruz Bay popular with Latinos, from 8 to 10 p.m. It will follow up on Friday with a presence at Tutu Park Mall from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Latinos make up 13.4 percent of the population, but 18 percent of all AIDS cases reported since the epidemic was first identified in 1981 were Latino subjects.
"There are a disproportionate number of people who have it and are getting it," Pat Odoms, who heads American Red Cross activities on St. Thomas, said Tuesday.
At the events, the Red Cross plans to show a Spanish-language video on the subject, as well as provide instructions on how to use both male and female condoms.
"The condoms have bilingual instructions," Odoms said.
She said the instructions and the training video are necessary because men often don't know how to correctly use a condom.
Written information will be provided in Spanish.
Odoms said the St. John presentation might have to be scaled back because the space at Cap's Place is small. However, the agency hopes to make it work by using its own video equipment.
Odoms said testing and treatment are available at the Health Department's HIV/AIDS Clinic at Knud Hansen Hospital on St. Thomas; at HOPE, located in Suite 123 in the Professional Building adjacent to the Fort Christian parking lot on St. Thomas; at the East End Clinic in Tutu Park Mall on St. Thomas; and at HOPE's St. John office located at the Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center.
She said Spanish-speaking staff is available at all those locations.
In 2002, 20 percent of all new Latino AIDS cases reported were people between the ages 35 to 44 years of age.
In the St. Thomas/St. John district for the period ending March 31, Latinos represented 14 percent of AIDS cases reported.
If your organization or group of friends wants to schedule an HIV/AIDS workshop, call Odoms at 774-0375 between 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
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