Esperanza Launches Project SALSA

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

HIV has been a major health crisis in our country for more than 35 years. Although new medications have made it possible for people with HIV to manage their illness and lead healthier lives, the fact remains that approximately 50,000 people become infected with HIV every year in the United States alone. Many of these infections are happening among people of color, including young Latinos. As a community health center that works primarily with this population, these numbers are of great concern to us. For many years, public health efforts to stem the spread of HIV have focused on encouraging the consistent and correct use of condoms, but, as the numbers above illustrate, that message has limitations. That’s why it is necessary to have other kinds of prevention strategies that can work alongside condoms to further decrease transmission among the most vulnerable. PrEP is one of the most promising new strategies to emerge in nearly two decades.

What is PrEP? Essentially, PrEP is a medication that is taken orally once a day and has been shown to reduce a person’s risk of contracting HIV by as much as 99 percent. Esperanza is now offering PrEP in South Lawndale in an effort to help stop the spread of HIV, particularly among Latino men who have sex with other men and among Transwomen. Now, you would think that demand for this kind of prevention would be high, but, in fact, research is showing us that PrEP use is far too low among Latinos. Part of the reason is lack of information about PrEP, but it’s also true that stigma about sex and HIV are contributing to keeping this vital prevention tool out of the hands of those who need it the most. Esperanza has launched Project SALSA / Proyecto along with another organization, Project VIDA, to raise awareness about PrEP, answer questions from the community and prescribe PrEP to those who are eligible. If you would like to learn more, visit or call 773-916-4436.

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