Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico - As they do every year during Easter vacation, from April 15-19, SETAC and the Mexico AIDS Healthcare Foundation, in collaboration with COESIDA Jalisco, CAPASITS Vallarta, the Centro Universitario de la Costa (CUC), DIF and various Puerto Vallarta associations, businesses and individuals, conducted the 2014 'Semana Santa Protegida' health brigades.
Taking the tools of education and prevention of HIV - rapid tests, condoms, lubricants, brochures, prevention packages, etc. - directly to the people in Puerto Vallarta and surrounding communities is the purpose of the annual Semana Santa Protegida campaign.
This year, the brigades started hitting the streets of Puerto Vallarta on Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week, with "Night Brigades" distributing free condoms in key locations such as sex clubs and small bars.
From Holy Thursday through Saturday, (April 17-19) Semana Santa Protegida information booths were set up - where they were allowed. In areas were stands could not be set up, volunteers made runs along the beach and tourist strips to distribute condoms and information.
The strategic points where stands were placed were:
1. Central Camionera (bus station)
2. Parque Hidalgo
3. Parque Lázaro Cárdenas
4. Blue Chairs
5. Playa Mantamar
(In addition to the Holiday Inn Beach, where volunteers had the opportunity to visit the beach without having a 'base camp.')
There was also a special group of 4 volunteers wearing 'LOVE' swimsuits, primarily aimed at the gay population in the area of Blue Chairs, where they were warmly welcomed.
Primarily nocturnal brigades were also carried out at meeting points of key populations: in red zones ("calles de trabajo sexual"), nightclubs and bars, where phosphorescent banners emphasizing every individual's responsibility to protect themselves were placed, and free condoms and information were handed out.
All of this was done by a 5 person staff with the support of 40 volunteers.
Special thanks go to these socially responsible institutions and businesses, who sponsored and/or supported the 2014 Semana Santa Protegida campaign:
• Hotel Mercurio
• Hotel Vallarta Cora
• Hotel Villa Las Flores
• Puerto Vallarta Men's Chorus
• Banderas News
• Spartacus Club & Sauna
• Casa Cůpula
• Alphonse Swimwear
• Colectivo GLBT Vallarta
• Aids Healthcare Foundation
• Studio Tattoo
• Centro Universitario de la Costa
Though this campaign ended on April 19th, 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 ongoing Milk Drive for the infants and children of HIV positive mothers. 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.Translated and edited by Lorena Sonrisas for BanderasNews.com.
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.