HIV Infection in Minority Areas Rising, Panel Told

Despite a downward turn in local AIDS deaths, more minority Los Angeles residents are living with HIV than ever before, according to testimony Wednesday at forum on AIDS and HIV.

The “Los Angeles AIDS Summit: People of Color and HIV” was held at Los Angles Unified School District headquarters and addressed such topics as “Are HIV Infections Dropping in Communities of Color?” and “How Do We Ensure That People of Color Are Accessing Medical Treatments?”

“We’ve known for a while now that the majority of new local AIDS cases are in communities of color, especially Latinos and African Americans,” said Cesar Portillo of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “Recent declines in AIDS cases and deaths obscure the fact that the number of persons who are living with AIDS and HIV infections are actually increasing.”

Los Angeles County epidemiologist Peter Kerndt said the increase is greatest in low-income Latino and African American communities.