Let’s talk about safe sex, baby

Michelle Castano

Staff Writer

 

Out of approximately 3,005 counties in the United States, Miami Dade is number one for new HIV cases, followed by Broward County. So with this epidemic in our community, how are we educating ourselves on such issues?

On Tuesday, Oct. 23 GSA hosted a discussion in regards to this increasing HIV infection issue. The special guest for such discussion was Stephen Fallon, Executive Director of Latinos Salud, an organization that focuses on pride, community, support, outreach and education among other causes.

“In public health, we used to say that HIV is everyone’s problem, and that’s kind of true. Technically speaking, anyone could become HIV infected, but it really affects certain populations more than others,” said Fallon.

Ultimately, Latino (gay, bisexual MSM [men seeking men]) and black communities are more likely to become infected with HIV. Minorities do have a higher rate of infections than Caucasians. HIV is primarily a problem for semen receivers (sexual fluids) inside of their bodies.

According to the Latinos Salud webpage, testing is always free and confidential and walk-ins are welcome.

They also offer free testing for syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia in their Wilton Manners location as well as their Miami locations.

Fallon, who is a PhD, stated that aside from HIV testing walk-ins, his staff pointed out that their mobile outreach van should be available late at night, at times where people were taking such risks. “My staff who are of the community knew this tactic would work,” stated Fallon.

Environmental Science major, Abrianna Jean-Baptiste stated that she came to the discussion with the intention of asking questions to be prepared and educated for when she eventually has a relationship.

“I was really glad that I was able to find information that was beneficial in regards to sexual intimacy; the presentation was very open minded and delightful. One thing that I learned from today’s event is that it is important to communicate with your partner(s) about sexual safety because without it, one will be at high risk of STD’s and HIV,” said Jean-Baptiste.

According to Latinos Salud, aside from the use of condoms, there is also the PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) option. The organization states that the same medicines in which help fight HIV can also block the disease from getting in; moreover, with PrEP, an HIV-negative person can take an anti-HIV combination medicine every day before a possible exposure to HIV.

For further information, one can check out http://www.LatinosSalud.org or visit their Facebook page (/latinossaludFL), Twitter (/latinossalud), or Instagram (/latinossalud).

castm46@mail.broward.edu

photo: Latinos Salud focuses on pride, support, outreach and education.

Photo courtesy of Latinos Salud.org

 

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