We’re proud to share the stories of just some of the scholars that Latinos Salud brought to the Biomedical HIV Prevention Summit this month.
The agency competed for funds to be able to sponsor the registration fees and travel for select community health workers, primarily those working with the most disenfranchised populations, and those from the South.
Juan Buch, Florida
Since 2008, while being 21 years old, my interest in helping my communities arise due to my personal and professional experiences. One factor was when I saw that something easy to acquire that could change your life, can be easily prevented. Also, the impact we can make to educate and increase awareness about healthy sexual relationships and prevent HIV & STD infections. Finally, the input we can provide through data and research to find the cure and end the HIV epidemic.
Adriana Maldonado, Illinois
I’m a Linkage to Care Specialist in Chicago. I work with men who are newly Dx with HIV over the age of 25. I also run a workshop called Empoderandonos for patients who are HIV positive, who are male Identified, Latinx and Spanish speakers. Working with HIV positive people and doing this group for the last 3 years, I realized how strong the stigma is in the Latinx community and the lack of resources they have. I applied for the Biomedical HIV Prevention 2019 Scholarship so I can learn more about HIV, be up to date and make connections so I can bring more resources to my patients. There’s a lack of professional development for Latinx women in the HIV field, so I always make sure I find my resources to keep growing in this field. I want to Thank “Latinos Salud” for this scholarship, Thank you.
Julio Rolon-Mendez, New York
I always feel the compromise to help, educate and give support to my communities. I feel it is more than a compromise; is an obligation to use my skills, knowledge and education getting the speech into actions that address the issues that affect us. My goal is to be a change agent and a liaison between the information sources, the community and the decision makers, to educating them to abut topics difficult to understand, so they can take informed decision about health. For me, the education is the key to eradicate the stigma and to end the HIV epidemic.
Jairo Farinas, Florida
My story started as an HIV scare, not the best way to start a story, but the experience made me wonder how the general public is painfully unaware of basic HIV information, and how unmotivated people were to take preventative measures to not catch it (because that was the realization I had about myself after the harrowing experience).
Theresa Cantu, Texas
As a recognized local entertainer in the San Antonio community, I have made it my mission to advocate for those who do not always have a platform such as the one I have been fortunate enough to establish. Growing up, although I had a very supportive family, I was always unsure how to identify. Out of fear of disappointing my parents and not being properly informed, I focused all my attention at academics as to avoid any opportunity to claim any identity beyond that of the "person at the top of the class". It was not until I was 22, that I finally came out as a proud transwoman. It was then, I decided I would make it my passion in life to provide resources and referrals to people in and around my community to services or connections they may need, establish a welcoming environment to not only advocate for people but be ready and willing to listen and support them (whether it be their gender identity, sexual orientation, or HIV status), as well as aid the community I was so easily welcomed into, by educating and encouraging them to live their best life possible. Being true to yourself and to others can be so empowering, unfortunately stigma is highly present in the world around us and does not always make it an easy task to be open and proud. I remember being young and my mom saying "people are always scared of what they do not understand", so I do not blame people who inherently present stigmatic bias, but instead use that as a door to educate them on what they do not understand as to create a more knowledgeable and accepting connection.
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Members of the The Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA), along with federal members in public health, toured our Miami Beach location , learning how we're fighting back against rising HIV rates that affect gay Latinos