Houston HIV cases: ABC13 town hall highlights impact on Black and Latino communities

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HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — The HIV pandemic has been going for 41 years, and while more than 1 million Americans are living with it, one in every 10 don’t even know they are positive.

In Houston, communities of color are being impacted at alarming rates, according to Houston Health Department data from before the COVID-19 pandemic (2019):

  • Houston Latinos: 29% of all HIV/AIDS cases
  • U.S. Latinos: 24.7%
  • Houston Black and African-American: 50%
  • U.S. Black and African-American: 40.3%

“When you look at all of those disparities, what we found is Black and brown people are the people with the most disparity, right, and just like that, HIV is one of those things,” said Ian Haddock, executive director of The Normal Anomaly Initiative, Inc., a nonprofit focused on service to the Black LGBTQIA+ community. “We really have to examine our outlook and perspective regarding this being a gay disease or queer disease.”

Thursday, ABC13’s Mayra Moreno hosted a town hall, highlighting the disproportionate impact of HIV in Houston, and resources that can help you or someone you love prevent, test for, and treat an HIV infection.

During the town hall, Moreno challenged panelists to cut through the fear and stigma surrounding the disease, leading a frank discussion about harmful beliefs that have held back communities of color from getting the help they need.

Our experts also discussed what has changed since HIV/AIDS came onto the scene in the ’80s, and the variety of resources now available in Houston to help fight the disease.

Panelists for Thursday’s town hall included:

  • Adriana Dibello, AAMA senior program manager
  • Eddie Gonzalez, HIV educator and patient
  • Elia Chino, FLAS CEO and executive director
  • Ian Haddock, The Normal Anomaly Initiative, Inc. executive director
  • Jeffrey Campbell, AIDS Foundation Houston chief health officer

In Texas, HIV infections in our Latino and Hispanic communities also outpace national averages at 34%, compared to 24.7% nationally.

Texas’ Black community overall is under the…