Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - Over the final three days of the Semana Santa holidays, SETAC GLBT Community Center, in collaboration with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the Puerto Vallarta Department of Public Health, Comusida, and CAPASITS (HIV Clinic), once again reached out to the community.
On April 5th, 6th, and 7th, twenty volunteers made contact with an estimated 10,000 people from the 'Semana Protegida' booths they set up at Playa de Los Muertos and Parque Lázaro Cárdenas on the Southside of town, and at the Main Plaza in downtown Puerto Vallarta.
During the three day event, 25,000 free condoms and 300 vouchers for free rapid HIV testing were distributed to residents and visitors. Within twenty-four hours of the end of the campaign, people were already coming to the city's three most frequented HIV testing sites (SETAC, Comusida & CAPASITS) for their free rapid HIV test. This is a great indicator that the message of HIV and other STDs prevention and treatment is truly out there, being heard, being understood, being accepted, and being acted upon by our community.
In response to concerns over the number of condoms distributed and their cost, experience has proven that a $2 Pesos condom is very effective in protecting individuals from a diagnosis that costs an estimated $20,000 Pesos per month in medicines, tests and treatments - for the rest of their lives. We believe that the funds spent on our condom distribution programs is money well-invested in the prevention of Sexually Transmitted Diseases.
It was noted by the volunteers that there was an increased number of women approaching the 'Semana Protegida' booths for information. This is great! SETAC is first and foremost a community organization providing recourses, services and support to all persons - regardless of sexual orientation or identity.
Though this campaign ended on April 7th, it's important to remember that SETAC has not stopped our efforts to support the community. There are many campaigns still in action at the center and around the city. Most notably the Milk Drive for the infants and children of HIV positive mothers, which runs through April 30th. We encourage you to stop by any of the many donation locations throughout the city, to donate money or powdered milk to this important project.
We have many ongoing services at the center located at Constitución #427, Col. Emiliano Zapata. Some of these include free access to condoms, HIV testing, education and prevention information. Support group meetings i.e. Alcoholics Anonymous & HIV Support groups, workshops on acceptance, relationships, personal and professional development, as well as professional services, such as massage, chiropractic, reflexology, reiki are also available. The Community Center's Movie Nights provide a safe drug and alcohol free space to gather and meet other like-minded members of our community.
SETAC also provides condom and information distribution to many of the businesses throughout the community regardless of sexual orientation.
Everyone here at SETAC would like to give thanks to our volunteers who serve selflessly to support a mission they believe in. We would also give a special mention to Tribuna de la Bahía, Siempre Libres, Vallarta Opina and Milenio newspapers for their continued assistance in spreading the word about what we're doing and what's upcoming.
SETAC welcomes all people of all backgrounds, identities and orientations with open arms, please, if you have any questions or concerns please contact us. We are happy to support you however we are able.
Look for our newly renovated website coming soon. This updated site will provide much more information on things like HIV Prevention and Treatment. We will have an interactive Blog and many more links to other meaningful businesses, organizations or service providers who also support our mission. We are also the first and only center in Mexico linked to other major centers around the world, including, Canada, Japan, Israel, USA and many others via the Center Link website, lgbtcenters.org.
The purpose of the SETAC Puerto Vallarta Gay, Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) Community Center, located at Constitucion #427 on the corner of Manuel Dieguez, is to provide essential services to the GLBT community, including support in recovery from alcoholism and other afflictions, physical and mental health treatment and referrals, education and recreation in an atmosphere of safety, free from discrimination. For more information, contact Paco Arjona at (322) 224-1974 or paco(at)setac.com.mx.
Click HERE to learn more about Centro Comunitario SETAC-GLBT.