Vallarta Enfrenta el SIDA A.C. Announces New Location and Staff
The offices for Vallarta Enfrenta el SIDA, A.C. (Vallarta Confronts AIDS, or VES for its Spanish acronym) have recently moved to a new location at:
Manuel M. Diéguez #387, at the corner of Aguacate in the Colonia Emiliano Zapata.
The new location offers more space, easier access than the former offices in Colonia Centro, and a more attractive and comfortable space. The office is just one block from the Hospital Medasist and the PEMEX station on the Carretera Barra de Navedad.
VES continues to offer free, confidential HIV testing and professional counseling by appointment or walk-in at the new location. Tests are quick, and results are provided within minutes. In addition, anyone may stop in and receive free condoms and packets of water-based personal lubricants. VES also provides referral information for a range of medical and social services that are available in Puerto Vallarta and beyond.
In addition to new offices, VES is also pleased to announce new staff and services.
José Manuel Amaro is the new Coordinator of Prevention and Testing Programs. Jose will oversee VES programs including local health fairs; outreach and education efforts for youth, gay men, sex workers, and other vulnerable populations; individual and group counseling; and coordinating efforts with the local HIV/STD clinic known as CAPASITS (Centro Ambulatorio para la Prevención y Atención de SIDA e Infecciones de Transmisión Sexual).
VES, a non-governmental private non-profit, operates alongside and under contract with CAPASITS, which is funded by the Mexican Federal and Jalisco State Secretariats of Health, providing outreach, education, prevention, and counseling services. VES also pays salaries for several clinic employees that are not funded by the state or federal governments. VES receives funding from several US-based foundations and local donors.
Douglas García Reyes is the new Development Coordinator. This position was recently created, due to the need for better management of fund raising programs; the need for building and maintaining donor and sponsor relationships; and improved grant funding management. Douglas previously worked with a number of non-profit organizations in this capacity in Mexico, DF.
VES is pleased to welcome these new staff members. We invite the public to stop by and see our new and improved setting, say hello to our new staff, and… if you haven’t been tested for a while, ask for an HIV test! It’s quick, free, and painless!
VES is still seeking one additional full-time staff member. A Volunteer Coordinator is needed to recruit, train, and oversee our volunteer team. VES volunteers perform a wide variety of tasks, including assisting at health fairs, free condom and information distribution at local nightspots and businesses, leafleting in local neighborhoods, and more. The Volunteer Coordinator should be 100% fluent in Spanish, and have a background in personnel management or human resources.
Upcoming Vallarta Enfrenta el SIDA events, projects, and programs include:
- VES is developing a new approach to wellness counseling with the highly recognized developer of the L.I.F.E. Program, Dr. Jeffrey Leiphart. L.I.F.E. stands for Learning Immune Function Enhancement. While standard treatment for persons living with HIV is based on the use of medications, L.I.F.E. counseling adds to the biomedical approach by encouraging patients to look at their internal psychological responses and external social factors that affect immunity and the course of disease. We expect this program to formally launch by January. Staff is currently in training to lead group and individual sessions using the fundamentals of the L.I.F.E. program concept. This will be the first time this program has been offered in Mexico.
- VES will shortly announce dates and locations for a series of community health fairs, beginning in late October, and running through April 2010. These events will take our testing and counseling services to communities throughout the Bay of Banderas region, with a particular focus on communities where HIV information and services are limited, and communities where there may be large numbers of individuals vulnerable to HIV infection (due to socio-economic factors or lifestyle factors, for example).
- VES is currently restarting a program begun in 2008, to provide free condoms at local business outlets. Participating businesses will have a canister of condoms available for patrons to take, free of charge. The condoms are packaged together with personal lubricant, in a discreet envelope that fits in the pocket. The inside of the envelope contains printed information on safer sex practices and where to find testing and counseling services.
- VES staff and volunteers continue to visit locations throughout the region, particularly during the night, to distribute information and safer sex materials.
For more information, to volunteer, to ask about paid employment, or to obtain testing or counseling services, please call 322-223-0535, or visit our new offices at Manuel M. Diéguez #387, Colonia Emiliano Zapata.