Community Voices

Latino/a/x's Individuals Living With HIV

DC Health held four focus groups with a total of42 Latino/a/x individuals living with HIV. The focus groups were held in partnership with two community-based organizations. The groups discussed what type of services or support was the most valuable in helping them cope while living with HIV.

Concerns

Some of the biggest barriers are language-related and extend beyond translating words from English into Spanish. There is little trust when using an interpreter when the feeling is that the person cannot really represent them. In addition to not trusting that the correct information is being communicated, people are overwhelmed having to repeat their story so many times to different people for translation purposes: Is the same message getting across, or different messages to different providers based on the quality of the translation? Some participants did not trust messages about U=U.

Strengths

Latino/a/x individuals trust and feel safe and comfortable with their peers, particularly in a healthcare setting, where language can be a barrier to asking clarifying questions and hearing information in an accessible way. Most Latino/a/x individuals living with HIV in these groups knew about PrEP and noted it was important progress in HIV prevention.

Opportunities

Education efforts for U=U should focus on using peers or support groups rather than medical professionals to deliver information. Other ideas to better serve the Latino HIV-positive community include:

  • Stigma-reduction campaigns especially targeting focusing on all Latinos (straight men) and not just men who have sex with men
  • Providers with Latino/a/x-focused wrap-around services
  • Bilingual, multicultural staff
  • More psychosocial support and support groups
  • Events and health fairs focusing on the Latino/a/x community
  • Culturally appropriate language and campaigns
  • Safe spaces for community-led conversations
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