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Minn. to observe Latino AIDS day on Oct. 15

ST. PAUL — Minnesota will join the eighth annual observance of National Latino AIDS Awareness Day later this month with a plea for early HIV testing.

The event on Oct. 15 is intended to raise awareness for the increasing HIV infection rates among Latinos in Minnesota and across the country.

The Minnesota Department of Health reports there are currently 512 Latinos infected with HIV living in the state. HIV infection rates for Latinos are five times higher than whites.

The department says Latinos also have had the highest percentage of "late testers" for HIV compared to other population groups in Minnesota. Late testers are those who either already have AIDS by the time they are tested, or will progress to it within a year.

State health official Peter Carr is urging Latinos to get tested, because the earlier you test the more beneficial the treatment.

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