World AIDS Day is a reminder of the millions of people that are living with the disease and amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research is helping raise awareness about this disease. They teamed up with individuals that are sharing their personal experiences and talking about the disparities seen in the Latino community and HIV through their Epic Voices Campaign, such as Viktor Luna, fashion designer, and Project Runway contestant.
According to the CDC, Latinos account for one-quarter of all new HIV diagnoses in the U.S., despite representing 18% of the total population. Even though, there’s been some advances in the success of PrEP and Anti Retroviral Therapy (ART), HIV infections in the Latino community have increased by 14%.
amfAR Epic Voices is an online video series that aims to get the conversation started about HIV among millennial and LGBT communities. It wants to increase awareness of the persistent threat that this disease has and the urgent support that is needed for HIV research. They are optimistic that very soon there will be a cure, which is why they have a Countdown to A Cure For AIDS.
“Our Epic Voices campaign is part of our effort to reach out to the millennials and younger LGBT community – many of whom are part of the Latino community – to renew awareness of the persistent threat of HIV and the urgent need to support HIV research,” says Kevin Robert Frost, CEO of amfAR on giving Latinos a voice in the Epic Voices campaign.
Viktor Luna was 27-years-old when he was diagnosed with HIV and fortunately, he had someone he could confide in and even ask questions, something that many don’t have in their lives when they first hear of their diagnosis. “I was terrified,” says Luna. “I remember someone who I suspected had HIV and I told him my situation and immediately he took me under his wing and really educated me about the lifestyle and how I can live a healthy life. His support meant so much and it still does.”
Viktor Luna joined amfAR’s Epic Voices public awareness campaign, an online video series that aims to reenergize the response to HIV among Millennial and LGBT communities.