In honor of its 11th anniversary, the local not-for-profit Latinos Salud will stage a Gala fundraiser at the Design Center of the Americas (DCOTA) in Dania Beach on Saturday, February 8th.
Latinos Salud “exists to provide client-centered, culturally competent health education and integrated preventive, screening, and linkage services throughout South Florida in order to reduce the burden of communicable diseases and improve health outcomes. To achieve this mission in a diverse community, Latinos Salud serves all Latino gay, bisexual or otherwise identified Men Who Have Sex with Men, all persons living with HIV, and all persons who identify as transgender.”
South Florida continues to struggle with the highest new HIV rates in the nation. Gay and transgender persons of color are at the highest risk, both of acquiring HIV, and of suffering poor health outcomes when living with HIV.
For 11 years, Latinos Salud has offered free, culturally-competent services to community members who may not otherwise feel comfortable seeking HIV testing, STD screening, linkage to care services, counseling services, case management, community outreach, youth programs, peer leadership programs, and cultural events.
The 2020 Gala festivities kick off at 7 pm, featuring local Hispanic musicians and performers, an open bar, and a plated awards dinner, all within the stunningly designed and soaring DCOTA atriums. Latina transgender spokesperson and AIDS activist Carmen Carrera will emcee the evening’s fast-paced program.
“The DCOTA venue makes a statement,” said Executive Director, Stephen Fallon, PhD. “and our community mission needs that high impact visibility. Too often, local Latino and other minority gay men do not know how to access care, fear they cannot afford care, or even postpone testing until their health has degraded significantly. HIV hides in the shadows of rumors and fears. We’re turning up the lights and the style, proudly declaring that we as a community have it in our power to stop HIV stigma, and ultimately, to end the HIV epidemic in South Florida.”
Latinos Salud’s co-founder Rafaelé Narváez encouraged everyone to come. “We promise this event will not only be relevant. It will also be F-U-N. Ask your friends who came to our 10th anniversary last year, and you’ll hear about the ways we make this unlike any other event!” Mr. Narváez, also a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, adds, “It will be an entertaining evening, all in service of a very serious mission.”
Latinos Salud has walk-in services in three strategically-selected, full-time locations throughout Broward and Miami-Dade, each designed to reduce clients’ barriers to accessing prevention, testing, and linkage-to-care services. The agency also brings its services out to the community with late-night and weekend outreach, using two mobile testing vans. The agency’s exciting plans and new approaches for 2020 will be revealed at the Gala.
Fallon noted, “The overhead and staffing for 50 hours per week of free walk-in services, plus outreach and community engagement, require a significant investment. We’ve been fortunate to win many grants that get us most of the way there. Community members can take pride in knowing that their Gala entry ticket helps close the holes in our budget so that we can continue to serve all people with compassion and consistency.”
Advance tickets are available online at the agency’s website, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or calling (954) 765-6239 ext 207. Regular tickets are $175 and VIP tickets are $225. The agency is offering early bird pricing only until the end of this month.