Chivas USA and community activists help kick off HIV testing campaign
Los Angeles, CA – To kick off an annual HIV testing campaign and to promote new free testing services in northeast Los Angeles, Chivas USA players Michael Lahoud and Sergio Arias joined The Wall Las Memorias Project and local community leaders for an open house and press conference in Highland Park. Both players and leaders called for urban men to be community role models in fighting HIV/AIDS and alcohol abuse.
To encourage other men to take the HIV test and discuss the importance of peer leadership, Chivas USA players Sergio Arias and Michael Lahoud took a live HIV test at the press conference to show how easy it is. They also talked about the importance of getting tested and knowing your HIV status.
As 22,000 people in Los Angeles are infected with HIV, but don’t know it. Some have no idea they are at risk. Others are fearful of knowing their status. Many are scared of taking the first step and getting tested. Alcohol and substance abuse affects one’s ability to make a healthy decision.
Richard Zaldivar, founder and executive director of the The Wall Las Memorias Project, stated, “Social diseases such as HIV/AIDS and alcohol abuse can only be defeated if we openly discuss these public health issues without fear, shame or stigma.We all need to be community role models.”
“We’re all proud to be involved with the Wall Las Memorias project to help raise awareness for HIV testing,” said Chivas USA midfielder Mike Lahoud. “Everyone at the club is committed to building a stronger community, and this is an important step. I encourage everyone to get the test and know their status.”
The live test is timed to kick off the coming HIV testing campaign with Chivas USA and Erase Doubt at locations throughout Los Angeles County that will run April 13th until June 18th. On June 18th, Chivas USA fans The Wall Las Memorias Project will host AIDS awareness night at The Home Depot Stadium featuring the Major League Soccer match between Chivas USA and FC Dallas. Event organizers hope to test 300 community members with each person taking an HIV test receiving a pair of tickets to the June 18th Chivas USA soccer match.
Free HIV testing services will now be available for the community starting on April 13th at the Highland Park office of The Wall Las Memorias Project.
Community Partners include Erase Doubt Campaign (EraseDoubt.org) and Chivas USA, and the Greater East Los Angeles Meth Task Force
The partnership between The Wall Las Memorias Project and Chivas USA is a joint effort to promote AIDS awareness and HIV testing in the Latino community of Los Angeles County. The purpose of this initiative is to reduce the stigma surrounding the disease and promoting a healthy community through awareness, education and testing. This year, our initiative goal is to provide HIV testing to over 300 community members and generate awareness to over 15,000 soccer fans.
Founded in 1993; The Wall-Las Memorias Project is dedicated to promoting wellness and preventing illness among Latino populations affected by HIV/AIDS by using the inspiration of The AIDS Monument as a catalyst for social change. The AIDS monument is located at Lincoln Park in the City of Los Angeles.