Latino Youth in Action: Motivating & Informing Young Latinos in NYC

By Nicole Akoukou Thompson 

When there was a need for an HIV prevention program, leadership direction, and a LGBTQ fellowship for the youth in the South Bronx and Western Queens, the Latino Youth in Action was created – and it stepped up to the plate. 

The collection conceived a program that motivates young people in a 16-session course, where 14-24 year olds learn information about HIV prevention, sexual transmitted infections, and other important topics, so that they can go forward to educate the youth with hard-earned leadership. Participants are encouraged to use creative talents (dance, poetry, singing, music, etc.) when the organization plans special events, workshops, youth forums, health fairs and social activities.

The individual and group sessions, which are rooted in support services, are confidential and free, and it has graduated more than 300 young men and women. A small group with a big heart, it teaches the importance of self-esteem, family support, and combating homophobia.

 Latino Youth in Action functions under Hispanic Aids Forum (HAF), which has a mission to improve the health of Latinos in NYC who suffer from chronic illnesses. Like Latino Youth in Action, they also handle prevention, awareness and wellness. The services allow access to knowledge of chronic illness, supportive counseling for disease progression, and policies on public health programs in New York City.

In addition to all of its other services, the HAF offers free HIV testing to accompany the HIV prevention information and early detection information that they offer. The information that they provide reminds infected parties that HIV is not a death sentence, especially if it is detected early.  The free HIV services are available at 20 locations around the NYC area, with no appointment needed.  The website states, if the results are negative, they “will continue to support you so that you may remain free of HIV,” and if the results are positive, they “will be there for you to support you with accessing prompt medical care and emotional support services.”

Originally published at Latin Post.