Albert H. Fulcher
In celebration of the annual National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day on Oct. 15, San Ysidro Health held a free community health fair in San Ysidro on Oct. 17. Part of the parking lot on the 400 block of San Ysidro Boulevard transformed into a health clinic with the use of its mobile unit, and community partners joined in with the different services that they offer Latino and African American communities.
The last data from the Centers of Disease Control showed that at the end of 2016, 231,838 Hispanics/Latinos were living with HIV in the U.S. and dependent areas. At the end of 2017, 32.8% of people living with HIV were Hispanic/Latinos.
Jacmine Arias, program supervisor of Outreaching Testing for HIV, San Ysidro Health, said that the fair was possible thanks to the different services provided by San Ysidro Health and other community partners.
“Today we are doing free screenings for HIV, hepatitis C, blood glucose sugar,” Arias said. “We are being disproportionately affected, both African American and Latino populations. They are way above their presentation of the general community. A lot of people don’t think to actually ask a doctor to get tested because it’s something that they don’t do.”
Arias said people should all get tested at least once in their lifetime, and fair events like this are one of the ways they are reaching out to the local community.
She said the San Ysidro Health Clinic offers free HIV testing. They take its mobile site to different places without creating a fair throughout the year. The clinic offers testing Monday through Wednesday and Friday.
“It’s free,” Arias said. “You don’t have to be a client of the clinic. No need to register. It’s confidential. We can help if an HIV test is positive. We do linkage to care, medical case management and all the clinical needs. We also can refer to other programs they might need, housing, transportation… Even if they don’t qualify for any insurance, we can help get them access to care.”
National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day is also intended to create awareness around the impact of stigma, discrimination, homophobia and transphobia in communities.
Partners in the fair included The South Bay Youth Center, Western Dental & Orthodontics, Southern Caregiver Resource Center, Blue Shield California, Susan G. Komen San Diego, and Casa Familiar.
For more information about San Ysidro Health and its programs, visit syhc.org.