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HIV/AIDS Benefit in Merida

Brazos AbiertosThere is a growing effort in the Yucatan (and throughout Mexico) to address the issues of HIV/AIDS here. This effort is being spearheaded by a young man, Michell DeVoid, a native Yucatecan who has lived in Europe and the United States for most of his life. He has traveled the world, speaks six languages and has now returned to his homeland with a purpose. Michell and a generous group of good people, including John Truax of the Angeles de Merida B&B and Dr. Gordon Crofoot, a distinguished medical doctor in the United States, have created and are directing the Brazos Abiertos organization in Merida.

This organization will be working with local governmental agencies and universities to educate medical professionals, set up clinics, distribute information and provide support to the local population. Federally funded programs do exist but they are usually a case of “too little too late”, or sometimes “not at all”. According to Michell, due to the lack of consistent federal funds and programs, important medications are interrupted (rendering the treatment useless or worse yet, creating resistance to the medication) and medications that are sent are not the latest or most efficient. There is very little HIV testing and what does exist is not anonymous. The culture tends to support denial of the problem, which of course, creates a fertile ground for ignorance and spreading of the disease.

Brazos Abiertos was created to build awareness of the problem and provide support for victims of HIV and AIDS in the Yucatan.

The organization plans to set up clinics with competent service providers. They also intend to train medical staff, counsel at-risk portions of the population and provide free and anonymous testing in multiple locations. While the group is receiving an unprecedented level of support from various governmental agencies, solving the problems is also going to take private money and additional resources. Brazos Abiertos is a non-profit organization in the United States which accepts tax-deductible donations through its website. In addition, the group holds various fundraising events here in Merida.

The next such event will be held in March and is, of course, open to everyone.

The Event: Cabaret Night: “Come To The Cabaret” will feature singer Ms. Lisa Page of Atlanta Georgia USA. This is a fundraiser to benefit Oasis de San Juan and Brazos Abiertos HIV education programs.

When: March 8, 2007. Doors open at 8:00 and the Show starts at 9:00 PM

Where: Private Home In Merida Centro (Address will be given to you when you buy tickets)

Cost: $300 Pesos per person

Included in the price of the ticket is one complimentary drink and appetizers. There will also be a cash bar. Tickets must be purchased in advanced due to limited seating. If you have questions or wish to purchase a ticket, please contact Michell DeVoid at 999-923-8163 or email him at brazosabiertos@sbcglobal.net.

The Working Gringos encourage you to support this worthy cause. If you cannot attend, but would like to donate time, money or goods, please do so through their website at www.brazosabiertosyucatan.com.


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3 Responses to “HIV/AIDS Benefit in Merida”

  1. I heartily recommend this organization. Both Michell and John have been active in assisting with Oasis de San Juan de Dios, the AIDS Hospice in Conkal. While Mexico does have “universal health care” for those who have been employed in “official jobs” – jobs with a payroll and social security taxes paid – those who work in the fields, have unofficial work, or are rural often have no recourse at all.

    The Oasis takes those folks in and gives them a chance at proper medicine, a solid roof to sleep under, and companionship where before they often had been shunned by family or friends. Sometimes it is a mother and small children, or even whole families. Sometimes, a young man or woman who was uneducated about safe sex.

    Brazos Abiertos – open arms – is yet another side of the need for improved care in Yucatan.

    With the intense tourism trade, young Yucatecos often fall under the spell of a dashing foreigner with money like never could be imagined. A few days or weeks and the tourist is gone, yet a deadly reminder remains. Let’s all be responsible tourists – educating ourselves and others.

    And whenever possible, let’s help organizations like Brazos Abiertos and Oasis de San Juan de Dios. It’s the very least we can do in return for the richness of culture and experience that Yucatecos so willingly share with all of us. What is only a few dollars to Norte Americanos can mean life or death for those less fortunate.

  2. I am 58 years young male, HIV positive since 2003 on Atripla, healthy, in shape, strong, with a lot to give to give to the community and and working years. I am planning to retire in Mexico/Merida/Yucatan Peninsula. Are any restriction about getting permanent retirement or business visa? I do have a retirement plan in the USA. Do i get any medical help with medication if i decide to retire there?
    I thank you for any information on the topic.
    Cordially,
    Santiago

  3. Santiago, we don’t believe there are any restrictions on getting a visa… they do not ask for health certificates or anything health related when you are applying. You will probably NOT be able to get IMSS healthcare here… they are increasingly strict about all sorts of pre-existing conditions. We would suggest you contact Brazos Abiertos (www.hivyucatan.com) for any additional info and to look into volunteering perhaps for this worthy cause.

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