The lingering legacy of AIDS

Iris, 50, tested positive nearly two decades ago. Her granddaughter, who she is holding, does not have HIV.

When Iris, 50, found out she had HIV, she started preparing for her death.

Alongside the diagnosis, she found out her husband cheated on her – he tested positive too, without telling her. Their 8-year-old daughter later tested positive as well.

“I screamed and I started crying,” she remembered. “I thought I was going to die.”

Now, fewer have the same fears – her friends do not worry about the disease, sure they could control it.

“They got comfortable because of the medicine,” Iris said.           

But that kind of complacency threatens the success in fighting HIV/AIDS, experts say – and in fact, people like Iris in the Latino and immigrant communities face the highest rate of new diagnoses.

Immigrants, some undocumented who fear both officials and lack of health care, are experiencing higher rates of HIV infection in NYC.
 
The percentage of New Yorkers diagnosed with HIV who are foreign born jumped from 27 percent in 2007 to 31 percent in 2010, according to the Health Department, which called it a “public health failure” in a report. In 2001, that percentage was 17 percent.
 
“Folks are lulled into a sense of complacency,” said Joey Pressley, a staffer for Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito, who hosted a forum Jan. 17 about HIV prevention in her East Harlem community.
 

That complacency is dangerous, experts say.

“The No. 1 way that we can ensure that we won’t be able to end HIV/AIDS is by not paying attention to the next generation,” said Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, professor and co-director of the Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health at New York University.
 

Ingrid Floyd, director at Iris House, which helps people with HIV/AIDS, said about 40 percent of their clients are Latinos, and half of those are immigrants, many from the Dominican Republic and Central America, where confronting a positive status is much harder.

“There is still such a huge stigma around HIV,” she said.

Even now, Iris struggles with the thought of sharing her status with people at the church she regularly attends. 

“I haven’t been able to tell them,” she said. “I’m afraid of rejection.”
 

But that graveyard plot she set aside?

“It’s still there, empty,” she said. “I didn’t think I was going to make it this far.”
 

Why immigrants?

Guilamo-Ramos said at an NYU panel last week that Latinos are at particular risk for not getting care for HIV and AIDS, because many test late and then do not stay in health care. Also, they may never arrive at a clinic in the first place. “They’re so afraid of being discovered by immigration that they hesitate to engage,” said Felix Lopez, legal director at the Gay Men’s Health Crisis.
 

Nationally, Latinos struggle with AIDS

A Jan. 23 New York University event focused on the issue of HIV/AIDS and Hispanics, bringing together public health officials and city Health Department workers to discuss. Across the country, Latinos make up 16.7 percent of the population but 20 percent of all new cases, according to event documents. They also have the highest rates of being uninsured of any racial or ethnic group.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

NBA

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.