As part of Mexico's "National HIV Testing Day," health officials will be conducting HIV rapid tests in public places with the intention of spreading the message of early and timely detection as the best prevention. People whose sexual practices put them at a higher risk of infection are especially urged to take advantage of these free screenings.
The free testing will be taking place at the same time in various cities throughout the state of Jalisco including Puerto Vallarta, Ameca, Cihuatlán, Chapala, Etzatlán, Lagos de Moreno, Tepatitlán, Zapopan, and Zapotlanejo.
SETAC will be one of the main sponsors of the Health Fair here in Puerto Vallarta, along with: COMUSIDA, Guadalajara's Municipal Committee for the prevention of HIV-AIDS; CAPASITS, Vallarta's center for the prevention and treatment of AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases; and the Ministry of Health.
The event will be held in front of the old City Hall in downtown Puerto Vallarta on Saturday, November 23rd, from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm. SETAC's friendly representatives at the Health Fair will provide free and instant testing, free condoms and prevention packages, on site counseling, and up-to-date informational brochures.
"These screenings are a very important tool in our on-going program to effectively reduce cases of HIV in Puerto Vallarta and the surrounding areas," says SETAC founder Ed Thomas. "The key to this is prevention and early detection. We are providing a free, direct, and confidential way for people to get immediate results on their HIV status, and if it is positive, to take the first steps in getting it under control."
“There is no downside to HIV testing," says Thomas. "If you test negative you get reassurance and can protect yourself for the future. If you test positive, you get access to very effective treatment. These days, people who become ill with AIDS are those who don’t know they have the HIV virus. The test is quick and easy and the results are available in less than an hour. Knowing your HIV status allows you to be in control of your health and well-being, and helps to prevent transmission."
"The earlier it is detected," he reiterates, "the easier it is to treat. When treatment begins in the early stages of infection, HIV becomes a chronic, but treatable disease. In addition to saving lives, this reduces the cost of care and treatment of those infected with HIV."
For those who can't make it on Saturday, the medical and nursing students from Centro Universitario de la Costa will host "Rapid Test Day" on campus Monday, November 25th from 9:00 am - 2:00 pm. You can expect the same professional and confidential screening from the soon-to-be nurses who are participating in the CUC Nursing Bachelor degree program, that you would receive at the Health Fair.
Also, on November 29th, SETAC has been invited by the Government of Tomatlán and COMUSIDA Coordinator, Estela Cortes, to participate in the "Tomatlán Health Fair." This will be the second event for SETAC in that municipality this month, with 82 people being tested on November 8th at Campo Acosta.
Screenings will be conducted at the Tomatlán Health Fair from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.
The purpose of the SETAC Community Center, located at Constitucion #427 and the corner of Manuel Dieguez on the South side of Puerto Vallarta, is to provide essential services to the community, including physical and mental health treatment, referrals, and education 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.