Healthcare Issues among Undocumented Latino Immigrants Infected with HIV in New Orleans

By Marco Ruiz and Carlo Briones Chavez.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

As of September 30, 2009 a cumulative total of 29,548 HIV/AIDS cases have been reported in Louisiana including 312 pediatric cases (Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, 2009). The city of New Orleans ranked 2nd for AIDS cases rates among the largest metropolitan areas in the US in 2007. This disease continues to affect mainly African Americans in Louisiana. Of the cumulative cases 3% are Hispanic, and 4% of Hispanic (261 men and 62 women) currently live with HIV/AIDS in New Orleans. Around 67 (6%) of new HIV/AIDS cases were reported in Hispanics in Louisiana in 2009. The “face” of New Orleans has changed since Hurricane Katrina. More Hispanic/Latino immigrants (most of them undocumented and from Central America) are currently working in the city. There is no data on the documentation status of accumulated and new HIV/AIDS in Hispanics in Louisiana and New Orleans. Therefore the numbers showed on these reports might not be totally accurate of the real frequency of HIV/AIDS on Latino communities.

New cases of HIV are increasing in the undocumented Latino populations who do not have access to health care, suffer and are afraid of strict immigration policies, use self-medication practices , are not aware of the risk of acquiring HIV, have misperceptions about high HIV- risk groups, use female sexual workers while working in the United States, are not entitled to any form of formal health care, face language barriers and mistreatment at emergency departments, do not have any form of health education/promotion besides community-based and church services. There is an urgent need for better prevention services and lobbying immigration changes. We recommend the use of massive Hispanic TV and radio media, outreach campaigns, acculturation workshops, and preventative clinics accessible to these populations.

Keywords: Undocumented Immigrants, HIV Diagnosis, New Orleans

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp.137-146. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 630.003KB).

Marco Ruiz

Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine, Department of Medicine, Section of Infectious Diseases, Section of Geriatric Medicine, Lousiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

Graduated from the University of San Marcos Medical School, in Lima, Peru. Master Degree in Public Health from the University of Leeds, Nuffield Institute for Health,, United Kingdom. Currently Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine, Section of Infectious Diseases, at Louisiana State University. Palliative Care-HIV Physician at the HOP clinic. Experience in treating complex infectious disease cases, patients with HIV/AIDS and Palliative Care patients. Experience in the evaluation and management of nursing home residents and geriatric patients. Teaching experience with students, interns, residents and fellows at the Infectious Diseases,Geriatric Medicine fellowship programs and Internal Medicine Residency Program at LSU. Speaker to local and state conferences. Public Health practitioner with experience in Strategic Planning and Management. Researcher in International Health Policy. Certified in Internal Medicine, Infectious Diseases and Geriatric Medicine by the American Board of Internal Medicine and subspecialties.

Carlo Briones Chavez

Medical Student, Department of Medicine, Cayetano Heredia University, Lima, Lima, Peru

Founder of Esperanza Voluntaria Herediana a student-based oganization that suggests Public Health Innovations. Interested in Internatioal Health issues, health promotion and Health education. Interested in immigrant populations in the United States. Senior Medical Student at Cayetano Heredia University.

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