December Health Equity Link

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HHS Office of Minority Health


December 2022  |  View as a webpage

Health Equity Link

In this Issue

World AIDS Day (Dec. 1)

World AIDS Day (December 1)

Today is World AIDS Day, a day to unite with others worldwide to prevent HIV, support people living with HIV, and remember those who have lost their lives to an HIV-related illness. The HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH) reaffirms its commitment to addressing the health disparities that disproportionately affect racial and ethnic minorities, particularly Black, Latino, and LGBTQ+ individuals living with HIV.

This year’s theme, Putting Ourselves to the Test: Achieving Equity to End HIV, emphasizes accountability and action and echoes the Administration’s dedication to ending HIV/AIDS as a public health threat worldwide by addressing health disparities in communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and mpox. The theme also highlights the importance of HIV testing.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2020, HIV diagnosis percentages and rates were highest among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men; people aged 25–34 years; Black people; and people residing in the South. From a racial and ethnic disparities perspective, HIV diagnoses were largest among Black (42 percent) and Latinos (27 percent) aged 13 and over.

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National Handwashing Awareness Week (Dec. 4-10)

National Handwashing Awareness Week (Dec. 4-10)

December 4-10 is National Handwashing Awareness Week. Reducing the spread of germs is everyone’s responsibility.

Handwashing with soap and water is one of the simplest, most effective ways to stop the spread of germs and stay healthy. Keeping hands clean can prevent 1 in 3 diarrheal illnesses and 1 in 5 respiratory infections, such as the common cold or flu.

Teaching people about handwashing helps them and their communities stay healthy. CDC studies show that handwashing education in the community can:

  • Reduce the number of people who get sick with diarrhea by about 23–40 percent.
  • Reduce the number of school days children missed because of gastrointestinal illness by 29–57 percent.
  • Reduce diarrheal disease in people with weakened immune systems by about 58 percent.
  • Reduce respiratory infections, like colds, in the general population by about 16–21 percent.

Learn how to keep your community safe through handwashing by visiting the CDC’s Life is Better with Clean Hands webpage and downloading free resources and materials in English and Spanish. Use the hashtags #KeepHandsClean and #ManténLasManosLimpias on your social media platforms to promote the importance of handwashing.

Learn More Más información

National Influenza Vaccination Week (Dec. 5-9)

National Influenza Vaccination Week (Dec. 5-9)

Influenza (flu) can be severe and lead to hospitalization and death; however, certain groups of people, including certain racial and ethnic minorities, experience an unequal burden of severe flu outcomes. Long-standing social and health inequities likely contribute to this. To promote the importance of continuing flu vaccination through the holiday season and beyond, OMH is proud to support National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW).

According to the CDC, Black, Latino, and American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) people have had consistently higher rates of severe flu outcomes, including hospitalization and ICU admission from 2009 to 2019.

Compared with white people, age-adjusted flu hospitalization rates were:

  • Nearly two times higher among Black people.
  • 3 times higher among AI/AN people.
  • 2 times higher among Latino people.

NIVW calls all Americans six months and older to get their annual flu vaccine if they have not already. Since COVID-19 and flu could spread simultaneously this winter, please remind your friends and family that there is still time to get a flu vaccine to protect against flu illness and serious flu complications, hospitalization, or death. Find a vaccination location near you!

Learn More Más información

Marketplace Open Enrollment Deadline (Dec. 15)

Marketplace Open Enrollment Deadline: Dec. 15

Open enrollment for Marketplace health insurance runs from November 1 - December 15 for coverage starting January 1, 2023.

According to a report by the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) Office of Health Policy, enrollment among minority groups significantly increased between 2020 and 2022. Latino enrollees increased by 53 percent; Black enrollees increased by 49 percent; American Indian/Alaska Native enrollees increased by 32 percent; and Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander enrollees increased by 6 percent.

Don’t wait! Enroll in a Marketplace plan by December 15 to start the new year with full coverage. Visit to compare plans today and spread the word about open enrollment by sharing resources from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Learn More Más información

OMH Knowledge Center

Looking for minority health library services or resources? Visit the OMH Knowledge Center.

In recognition of World AIDS Day, the OMH Knowledge Center is featuring a collection of articles and documents focusing on promotion, outreach, and engagement for HIV/AIDS services.

To view this collection in the online catalog, click here.

Learn More

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