José López Zamorano | La Red Hispana 
Photo Credit: La Red Hispana

It is natural that most of us have been focused over the last year on the COVID-19 pandemic, especially our Latino community, which has been hit so disproportionately because so many of our most valuable members hold essential jobs in some of the most important economic sectors for our society.

But the reality is that, beyond COVID, other important public health challenges remain for our community that not only have not disappeared as a result of the pandemic, but in some cases have deepened, since there has been a trend documented by many people to let their guard down in terms of their health care, such as the attendance of check-ups or preventive examinations.

Yet this month of June offers us a great opportunity to continue with our guard up and reassess the importance of maintaining attention to all aspects of our health. On June 27th we observe National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) and at the same time we celebrate our LGBT community’s pride month (PRIDE) in June.

While it is true that we are all devoting considerable energy and effort to moving beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, we must not abandon the goal of ending the HIV epidemic in the United States, which has also had a devastating and disproportionate effect on our lives. communities of color.

That is why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which has been on the front lines of the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic for over a year, has renewed their efforts to confront the HIV epidemic.

This year, the theme for National HIV Testing Day is called “My Test, My Way,” to emphasize that there are different ways and places to get tested for HIV, including a free self-test kit, which you can order online from the “Take Me Home” platform quickly and easily for all those over 17 years of age who live in the United States (including Puerto Rico). The platform is completely free and is available in English and Spanish.

As a journalist, I have been involved in these campaigns for several years and I find it extremely encouraging that our medical authorities believe that we are closer than ever to ending the HIV epidemic in the United States. That is why it is essential to maintain the effort to reach the goal.

It is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic has accentuated our sense of personal and collective responsibility to be able to face the great public health challenges of our times. That is the same spirit we require to reach the collective goal of ending the HIV epidemic in the United States once and for all.

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