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American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
5167.0: Wednesday, December 14, 2005 - 3:30 PM

Abstract #116536

Recognition and response: The HIV epidemic among Minnesota’s African immigrants

Tracy L. Sides, MPH and Lucy Slater, MPH. Minnesota Department of Health, 717 Delaware Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414, 612-676-5461, t_sides@yahoo.com

Issues: Increased migration and travel influence the epidemiology of HIV infection. Recognizing and responding to changes in disease patterns is essential to effective and efficient use of prevention and care resources. Description: In 2001, the HIV surveillance unit of the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) noted a large increase in HIV among African-born individuals that was obscured by aggregated Black race data. MDH responded by engaging African community leaders in ongoing community-based informational and planning events, resulting within three years in the identification of culturally-specific HIV education and capacity building needs, and a small-grants capacity building and HIV awareness program within the African community. Meanwhile, attitudes in the African community evolved from denial and fear to organized lobbying at the state capitol for increased funding and support. Alongside these efforts, anecdotal clinical reports of non-B HIV-1 subtypes among African patients led to enhanced surveillance to document and monitor variant strains in Minnesota. Lessons learned: International aspects of local HIV epidemics are important to recognize and may require special attention. HIV cases among foreign-born populations may cause misinterpretation of surveillance data, particularly with regard to race, possibly resulting in inefficient targeting of resources. International communities often have unique cultural and linguistic barriers to accessing HIV prevention and care. Recommendations: When possible, HIV surveillance should consistently collect country of birth data and incorporate into routine data analysis. Surveillance, prevention and care programs should maintain regular contact. Addressing HIV in local international communities requires repeated contact with community leaders and culturally-appropriate approaches.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, Immigrants

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

I wish to disclose that I have NO financial interests or other relationship with the manufactures of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services or commercial supporters.

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

HIV/AIDS: Critical Trends

The 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition (December 10-14, 2005) of APHA