News from Around Banderas Bay | December 2007
|Puerto Vallarta Confronts AIDS|
On December 5th, hundreds of Puerto Vallarta residents and visitors gathered together at Parque Hidalgo in recognition of World AIDS Day. The event, sponsored by COMUSIDA, Vallarta Enfrenta el SIDA and CAPASITS was a huge success!
At 9 am the crowd marched to Los Arcos on the Malecón, where several elected and public health officials and representatives of local HIV/AIDS organizations took the opportunity to raise awareness and educate the community about HIV in Puerto Vallarta, where the per-capita rate of infection is among the highest in Mexico.
Among the keynote speakers who addressed the public about HIV, World AIDS Day and keeping everyone in our community safe and healthy were Lic. Marcelo Mantecón, speaking on behalf of Mayor Javier Bravo, who affirmed our local government's commitment to continuing the fight against HIV in our city.
Sr. Mantecón was followed by Puerto Vallarta Public Health Director Dr. Carlos Castro, who commended the extraordinary work of our local HIV clinic known as CAPSITS; the Director of the Municipal HIV agency COMUSIDA, Emma Teresa Robles, who promised to continue the efforts of the municipal HIV agency in the areas of prevention and education; and Paul Crist, the President of Vallarta Enfrenta el SIDA A.C., who asked the community to educate themselves, avoid discrimination against those living with HIV, and to offer assistance to those affected.
Following the speeches, a lively musical program was presented and the public was invited to visit the booths of Vallarta Enfrenta el SIDA and CAPASITS, where free, confidential, rapid HIV testing was offered throughout the day, along with counseling and information by trained staff and volunteers.
In keeping with the World AIDS Day theme, at 6:30 pm, Vallarta Enfrenta el SIDA President Paul Crist, Executive Director Paco Arjona and Event Organizer Juan Carlos García were the guest hosts at Banana Cantina's Local Celebrity Night, where they raised $2200 pesos for patients and their families at CAPASITS, Vallarta's recently opened HIV/AIDS Clinic.
Though they had worked all day manning the booth and marching in the parade for World Aids Day, they showed their commitment to this worthy cause by keeping their smiles on, talking to the diners about V.E.S. and selling raffle tickets.
The generously donated raffle prizes were superb and included: a 2008 Doggie Calendar by Paco Ojedo; a $300 pesos gift certificate for Tropical Treats from La Bodega de Nina; two tickets to Those Oldies But Goodies from the new non-profit theater group, Curtain Call; two certificates for 10 hours of Internet use at PVCafe; a certificate for $120 pesos from Ari at Encuentros Lounge and Pizza Bar; a haircut from Clarese; 2 x 1 dinners from Mama Dolores and Tabu, and dinner for two from Encanto Restaurant.
All in all the World AIDS Day celebration was a huge success, with everyone pulling together to prove, once again, that "Together We Can Make a Difference!"
For more information and photos of the event commemorating World AIDS Day in Puerto Vallarta, click HERE.
To learn more about Vallarta Enfrenta el SIDA, call (322) 223-0535 or visit VallartaEnfrentaSida.org