On January 29 and 30 in Washington D.C., activists, health advocates, political leaders and people living with HIV convene to kick off the 2008 National Latino Hispanic AIDS Leadership Summit to develop the Latino/Hispanic AIDS Action Agenda—a national policy blueprint to fight HIV/AIDS amongst Latino-American communities.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, more than 77,000 Latinos have died from AIDS-related illnesses, and Latinos are the second most HIV-affected population in the US behind African Americans.

Over the past year, community leaders have discussed ways to reduce new infections, diagnose HIV cases earlier and provide treatment for Latinos living with the virus. In September 2007, those same community leaders and members of the US House of Representatives—including Hilda L. Solis, Nydia Velázquez and Lucile Roybal-Allard—released the “Call to Action and Mobilization: Latino/Hispanic Communities Impacted by HIV/AIDS Emergency,” which urged for leaders at all level of government to commit to fighting the epidemic.

Key topics of discussion at the Summit include prevention, access to care, immigration/migration, research, treatment, advocacy, education and program funding.