|VES Launches HIV Prevention Project|
On Friday, August 1, 2008, a crowd gathered at Lazaro Cardenas Park on the South side of Puerto Vallarta to celebrate the $500,000 pesos grant Vallarta Enfrenta el SIDA, A.C. received from the Mexican government's HIV agency, CENSIDA.
The government's CENSIDA program provides funding to non-profit organizations in Mexico for HIV prevention projects, with a primary focus on men who have sex with men.
Only forty of the 340 NPOs that applied for the grant received funding - and Vallarta Enfrenta el SIDA A.C., a local non-profit organization that provides education and prevention programs, counseling and support for those with HIV+ and their loved ones and outreach to at-risk communities in the Banderas Bay area - was awarded the maximum amount under the program.
VES will use the funding to further their efforts to stop the spread of HIV in Puerto Vallarta, and to educate the public about sexual health and where to obtain health services for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases.
As part of the CENSIDA-funded project, VES has hired four new employees who, under the supervision of Executive Director Paco Arjona, have received professional training in HIV counseling, administration of rapid HIV tests, and outreach techniques.
In addition, VES has purchased 20,000 condoms and 20,000 individual personal lubricant packets, which will be distributed free, along with counseling and printed material providing information, education, sexual health referrals and rapid HIV testing at local businesses, parks and public areas throughout the Bay of Banderas region over the next few months.
After the Press Briefing, which formally launched the VES CENSIDA-funded project, V.E.S. staff and trained volunteers got down to business, providing Rapid HIV Testing and Counseling about HIV and sexual health to the public, free of charge and completely confidential, until 4 pm.
The mission of Vallarta Enfrenta el SIDA, A.C. is clear - to successfully reduce the number of new cases of HIV infection in Puerto Vallarta, including residents and visitors alike, and to assist persons and families already affected by HIV by providing the most current and comprehensive information, counseling and assistance available. They also work to reduce the stigma associated with HIV infection, thereby encouraging an increase in HIV testing among vulnerable communities.
For more information about HIV, testing, counseling, and risk reduction, please visit VallartaEnfrentaSida.org or call their offices at (322) 223-0535.
Puerto Vallarta's HIV/AIDS non-profit organization, Vallarta Enfrenta el SIDA, and CAPASITS, work together to provide high-quality medical care, counseling and psychological support, education and prevention programs, and outreach to at-risk communities in the Banderas Bay area. For information, assistance, or to volunteer or donate, please visit VallartaEnfrentaSida.org. To learn more about VES, click HERE.