From the break of dawn and well into the evening hours, amid the hustle and bustle of urban life people queued up in parks, city squares and busy streets across Mexico City and in other parts of the country to get tested for HIV during the second annual “Pruebatón” on June 10.
“Pruebatón” roughly translates from Spanish as “Test-a-Thon.” It is a 12-hour blitz of HIV testing led by AHF with support from local partners. This year, after a hectic and productive day the tally of tests stood at 6,000, with 60 new positive results identified. Of these, 517 tests were performed in Mexico City and 5 clients who tested positive were linked into care.
The impressive effort didn’t go unnoticed – as a token of gratitude and recognition, Mexico City’s Secretariat for Social Development presented an official award to AHF Mexico in the form of a medal and a plaque at a celebratory breakfast a few days later.
The award was presented by Dr. José Ramón Amieva Gálvez, Head of the Secretariat, who acknowledged the success of the NGO-led approach to community testing, as well as their “great heart, commitment and iron will.”
“They are cheerful, they know how to communicate, they approach the people and they get the results. Also, in a very sensitive way, they communicate the results to make sure that those who need treatment, get access to it,” Dr. Gálvez said. “Every time a person receives a condom, or a rapid test, it is a life that is saved.”
In a sign of support and encouragement, Dr. Gálvez got tested for HIV during the “Pruebatón” in front of the media. The collaborative relationship with the Secretariat has been strengthening since 2016, when AHF organized an enormous free “Keep the Promise” concert in the heart of the city, which was attended by tens of thousands.
For this year’s World AIDS Day commemoration, the government of Mexico City has already given AHF permission to stage events at the Monument of the Revolution—a prominent landmark in the city center.
“The support of the city government has been incredibly valuable to AHF Mexico. It opens doors to parts of the city where the high-risk groups can be reached with urgently needed HIV services,” said Nicole Finkelstein Mizrahi, AHF Mexico Country Program Manager. “With this support, we’ve been able to expand access to rapid HIV testing in the city and throughout Mexico.”
AHF has been working in Mexico since 2004 and currently provides treatment and services to 28,192 patients. To read more about AHF Mexico, visit https://www.aidshealth.org/#/archives/countries/mx.