My PrEP Plea!

It is exciting that we are on the brink of a new era – the advent of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to reduce the risk of getting HIV. At the moment, PrEP is on the uptake in certain communities, and there are many efforts to make it widely available. But I have a concern.

Youth under the age of 18 need parental consent/consent of legal guardian to access PrEP in New York State. This is problematic and presents a barrier. Youth under the age of 18 may be the ones MOST at risk and that could benefit most from PrEP in their toolbox for making informed sexual and reproductive health (SRH) choices for themselves, as they may have limited to no access to relationships with adult guardians for a variety of complicated and often traumatic reasons.

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What PrEP means for me?

I remember how much I had to adjust myself in order to succeed in a tough city such as New York when I came to the US three years ago. It wasn’t easy. But after so much hard work, sacrifices, and sadness over being so far away from my family and people I love, I must say that it was really worth it!!!

I have always believed that everything happens for a reason. I spent five years studying very hard to get my Bachelor Degree in Human Resources and then four years working in the field; both in my home country Venezuela. The first months I spent in New York, I was constantly fighting a lack of motivation because I felt I was never going to get a job in my field.
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A year and a half later, I got the wonderful opportunity to start working at the Latino Commission on AIDS in the Research and Evaluation department. I must confess that I was so scared because this was a brand new thing for me. I never imagined using statistical analysis software, interpreting data, or networking with important people in the health field and also learning so much about behavioral interventions, capacity-building assistance, advocacy, and HIV testing.

Last year, I heard the word “PrEP” and terms such as “are you PrEPared?” and “#TruvadaWhore” for the first time.   As a person working in the health field, specifically data and research, I had to learn about all of this in order to be updated in my new field. But I didn’t consider the chance of using PrEP myself, because I was scared of possible side effects and also giving a bad impression to the people I would potentially date.
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Stepping Up the Pace: IAC 2014 theme of the day.

In-Home HIV Test and an HIV Free Generation

Today’s theme at the IAC2014 is “Stepping up the Pace.” This theme seems to me like the perfect call to action that we all should heed to. The new biomedical interventions like PrEP and treatment as prevention have been making headlines all over the world. There is no denying that the science community has been active doing their share of the bargain. What about us, the general community? Continue reading

And then there were a hundred!!!

We have posted our 100th blog article and we want to take a moment to thank all of our followers! The Institute for Hispanic Health Equity has been blogging for the past year with the intention of raising awareness and discussion on bridging the gap in health disparities throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. A big thank you to all our readers and followers for helping us spread the word!

In case you missed them, here are the top ten most popular articles as of today:

Please scroll bellow and take a look at what our followers are saying too…
THANK YOU!

Raise your hand if you like change

A few questions for this sunny Thursday morning:

1. How many times in the last week have you heard the news, your boss, our president, your partner, or your kid’s teacher talk about how things have to change and we have to take action?
2. How many times to do you agree?
3. How many times to you know HOW to make the change?

If you are like most people, you have a high number for question 1, lower for question 2, and even lower for question 3.  It is undeniable that we are confronted with pressure to change from all directions these days. In the workplace, we talk about “change management” and “change leadership,” and this is especially true in the health field. We can’t even talk about the field without talking about change. As such, many our leaders are (or should be) taking a step back and refreshing our strategies for making the large-scale changes that are required of the Affordable Care Act. This is no simple change that we are looking at. Many of us at community based organizations have to look at the core of who we are – our mission, our name, our clients – to figure out how to move forward in the coming years. This is a transformational change. As stated by Dean Anderson and Linda Ackerman Anderson of Being First, Inc:

“Transformation demands a shift in human awareness that completely alters the way the organization and its people see the world, customers, work and themselves” Continue reading