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New Latinos Salud Programs Offer Social Event Without “The Catch”

Working out, eating healthier, choosing safer ways to enjoy intimacy. There are some things you feel like you “should do.” Others, you really want to do.  

What if the activities that you enjoy could actually help support your goals for better health, too? That’s the vision behind two programs that launched this year at Latinos Salud, the south Florida non-profit HIV and STD agency with locations in Broward and Miami-Dade.  

Latinos Salud’s Broward Youth Services program offers events for young gay Latinos and other younger gay guys, ages 18 to 29. The agency’s Health & Culture program, meanwhile, offers events open to all ages, mostly taking place in Miami-Dade, with a few events in Broward County, too. Together, these new programs offer a wide array of activities that bring guys together for recreation and connection.

Latinos Salud _ Photo
Photo Courtesy of Latinos Salud
Latinos Salud _ Group Photo
Photo Courtesy of Latinos Salud

Latinos Salud’s Executive Director, Dr. Stephen Fallon, stated, “We believe that serving community health begins with being part of the community. Our two new programs each offer different events than what you’d expect to find at an HIV/STD agency. Typically, when an HIV agency throws an event, it will start with an icebreaker before quickly shifting into a long, safer sex lecture or HIV treatment update. While educational events are important, there are only so many times someone will want to sit through a condom demonstration or learn about why taking HIV medications on time matters. These are events without ‘the catch.’”

Instead, Latinos Salud’s new programs prioritize the social vibe created by simply bringing community members together. “Think of these like stand-alone, fun events that just happen to be ‘brought to you by Latinos Salud,’” says Alex Moro, Health & Culture Specialist. “Sure, we’ll have pamphlets on hand, and we’ll quickly let you know that we’re here with our free health services if you need them. The rest of the time, it’s all just about enjoying the social activities together.”

Latinos Salud _ Group Photo
Photo Courtesy of Latinos Salud

Both the Youth and Health & Culture programs offer a wide range of activities, almost all of which are free. So far this year, events have included kayaking, salsa dance lessons, walking tours, painting classes, yoga classes, pool parties, group picnics in the park, bowling nights, Halloween make-up class, and movie nights out.

What brings people to these events?  “It’s a different way to make friends and to impact the community,” said Mario Lopez, Youth Services Specialist.  

Some events are capped at just six participants.  Most have room for 20. A few, like October’s Hispanic Heritage Food Bazaar, brought out more than 200 guests.

This content is provided by Latinos Salud. More information is available at LatinosSalud.org.