In mid-July, Amy traveled to San Pedro Sula, Honduras to strategize about programs with staff, enhance information sharing between the Honduras and US offices, and meet with patients and community members. Below are some highlights:
When asked to name her profession, “Vanessa,”* a 60 year-old HIV+ woman said without pause “luchadora” meaning “fighter.” She volunteers regularly at Siempre Unidos events setting out chairs for meetings, blowing up balloons for solidarity parades, and cooking food for the clinic’s holiday events. She is deeply committed to advocating for the rights of people living with HIV.
Commercial Sex Worker Health Education
Amy joined staffers Yolany and Xiomara on their evening visit to 2 clubs and a street corner. The young women listened to the descriptions of how to use condoms to prevent transmission of HIV and other sexually-transmitted diseases while applying make-up and styling their hair. Beneficiaries of a program running for 11 years, the women deeply trust Yolany and Xiomara and turn to them for individual consultations on personal and health-related problems.
New Hepatitis C Testing Program
With funding from the Gilead Foundation, Siempre Unidos will screen high risk groups, namely HIV+ and LGBT people, commercial sex workers, and prisoners, for Hepatitis C. Siempre Unidos will collect data about Hepatitis C prevalence in Honduras where there is a dearth of information and refer positive patients to government hospitals for treatment.
Upon returning home, Amy found an email from Pascual, our Honduras Executive Director, wishing her a safe journey. “The days were demanding and intense,” he wrote, “but worth it, and very productive.”