Tag Archive | "Vida/SIDA"

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Posted on 10 December 2016 by alejandro

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On December 1,2016, Puerto Rican Cultural Center-Vida/SIDA hosted a World AIDS Day 2016 event at the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture (NMPRAC). The event began at La Casita de Don Pedro where an altar was created by Co-chairperson of the Chicago Chapter of TransLatina Coalition, Maritxa Vidal, followed by a candlelight vigil in memory of those who have died of AIDS and in support of people living with HIV. After the vigil, attendees participated in a procession to the NMPRAC where the World AIDS Day Program was held.

Joining Vida/SIDA were our community partners and sponsors, Erie Family Health Center represented by Esther Morales, a Case Manager of Lending Hands for Life, a program that provides medical care for those diagnosed with HIV, and Sanford Gaylord, from US Department of Health and Human Services, who spoke eloquently of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, Affordable Care Act, Viral Hepatitis, and other health initiatives.

The Keynote speaker was Dr. Tahseen J.Siddiqui, an Infectious Disease Specialist at Norwegian American Hospital with which Vida/SIDA has established a partnership and has implemented a program called Integrated Paseo. The above program directs and offers services such as Counseling and Testing for HIV, Sexually Transmitted Infections, and Hepatitis-C to the LatinX and African American population in Chicago. Dr. Siddiqui provided the audience with a detailed Power Point presentation on HIV/AIDS prevention, stigma, and statistics and the beacon of light that exists today for those who are living with HIV.

The event program ended with two of Chicago’s top Drag Queens, Milani Ninja and Naomi Ninja, who entertained the audience with two dynamic musical performances. Vida/SIDA’s World AIDS Day event was a program promoting education, awareness and a vision of hope that as we continue our struggle, HIV/AIDS will soon be a disease of the past.

By Ricardo Jiménez, Vida/SIDA

Photos by Ed Negrón

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Vida/SIDA Celebrates World AIDS DAY

Posted on 05 March 2013 by alejandro


The theme of this year’s World AIDS Day was “Getting to Zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS related deaths.” Started back in 1988 by the World Health Organization, World AIDS Day has a rich history in mobilizing the global community against the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Coincidentally, a year earlier Vida/SIDA opened its doors to the community. Taking a proactive approach towards intervention, Vida/SIDA provides education, information, resources and testing services to those at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. Because of their novel approach and interconnected networks within the community, Vida/SIDA has now become the model for HIV/AIDS prevention centers across the nation, according to Jose Lopez, Director of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center.  This year’s World AIDS Day commemoration started on November 30th with an event held at Antronio’s Bar and Grill in Berwyn, IL. The evening started off with a reception and was followed by outstanding performances by Gaby Badu, Rage DeMornay and Milani Ninja.

The performers then honored Miss Ketty, a longtime supporter of Vida/SIDA. Gustavo Varela, staff of Vida/SIDA, helped to organize all the wonderful performances and has been an instrumental part of the work done at Vida/SIDA. Angel Diaz, another staff member at Vida/SIDA, did an amazing job of decorating for the event. Vida/SIDA would like to thank Emmaus Ministries for their gracious donations and continued support of our work. We would also like to thank Antronio’s for allowing us to do testing at their facility on Saturdays and for their continued support of Vida/SIDA.  On December 1st, World AIDS Day commenced with a parranda (Puerto Rican Caroling) that started off at the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture (IPRAC) and ended with a vigil at El Casita de Don Pedro. All the local businesses that participated in the parranda were treated to coquito, songs and a community filled with compassion and solidarity. As a follow up to all the World AIDS Day events, Queer Fest America held a benefit concert for El Rescate Transitional Home at The Mutiny, 2428 N. Western Ave. Saturday night. The night started off with a showcase highlighting David Bowie tribute band Stardust, The Cathy Santonies, The Recruitment and Ez Kabage. Attendees were encouraged to bring blankets and winter coats. Queer Fest America was founded by Lair Scott, a longtime advocate of the LGBTQ community. “It’s a demographic that’s in need, in dire need, especially in wintertime,” he said. “They have no place to go.” On behalf of all the residents and staff at El Rescate and Vida/SIDA, we would like to thank Lair Scott and Mutiny for their continued support. As Vida/SIDA continues to reassert its commitment to the fight against HIV/AIDS, they encourage the local and global community to work together to strengthen the cause.

by Lourdes Lugo

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Humboldt Park Observes World AIDS Day

Posted on 09 December 2011 by alejandro

On December 1st Vida/SIDA joined communities across the world in commemorating World AIDS Day, a day to honor the lives of the 33 million people who have died from AIDS-related illnesses and the 90,000 others who continue to live with HIV/AIDS.

On Thursday, approximately 150 Humboldt Park residents, community leaders, and youth from three area high schools gathered at La Casita de Don Pedro for the altar and candle lighting ceremony to honor those who had passed away from AIDS related illnesses in the community. José E. López, Executive Director of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center, and State Representative Maria Antonia “Toni” Berrios spoke about the importance of supporting people with HIV and fighting homophobia within the Latino community. The group marched in a procession to Roberto Clemente High School holding candles, carrying signs that read “Fighting for a Cure”, and calling out the names of those who had passed away.

Also, partaking in the World AIDS Day event was the With Me Comes a Cure [WMCC] program of Vida/SIDA. This HIV/STI Initiative, which is geared for youth between the ages of 13-24, is a collaborative effort between Vida/SIDA, the Community of Wellness, and the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. For World AIDS Day, WMCC sponsored a t-shirt contest for high school students from Clemente, Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos, and Aspira; the students where asked to submit designs with a message relating to World AIDS Day and HIV/AIDS.
Following the vigil, everyone gathered at Roberto Clemente High School for the reception dinner.

The program included a presentation from Dr. Jaime Martínez from the Core Center, about treatment barriers unique to HIV-positive immigrants.  Zenaida López, Associate Director of Vida/SIDA, announced the winner of the t-shirt contest, followed by a female drag performer, Venus, who delighted the crowd with a colorful performance.
Armando Esquivel from Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos was the winner of the t-shirt contest and the runner up was Luis Ramírez from Clemente. The winning design was printed on 150 t-shirts, and to close the event, t-shirts where passed out to all those in attendance.

Vida/SIDA and community partners are working to educate the community about HIV transmission, encourage safer sex practices that can prevent new cases, and help those who are positive, access affordable and respectful care.

by Cassandra Avenatti

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