Help to empower Latinos and Latinas living with HIV / AIDS surpassing the impact of diagnosis and establish a supportive and accepting Latino community within the HIV / AIDS movement it in Ontario.
Being recognized as an AIDS service organization that represents and advocates for Latinos and Latinas living with HIV/AIDS in Ontario, by providing: support and community empowerment.
Latinos Positivos was founded to respond to the need for HIV positive Latinos to build a community that reflected the Latino culture, provided services in Spanish and was focused solely for and by HIV positive individuals. Similar to barriers faced in other ethno-racial organizations, Latino PHA’s have dealt with the strong stigma and discrimination that unfortunately still prevails within the Latino community. Many Latinos have died alone in the past 25 years without the support of family, friends and loved ones because of the fear of HIV disclosure. For the most part Latinos that lived with HIV in Ontario for the past 25 years assimilated within other organizational cultures to access services and get the support that they needed.
In 2006 many Latinos immigrated to Toronto after the AIDS International Conference, their needs became highly evident when they began to seek support at The Toronto People with AIDS Foundation. These courageous individuals came forward to demand culturally appropriate services and many were prepared for the first time in 25 years of the AIDS epidemic; to put a face to AIDS in a Latino context in Toronto. In recognition of the needs of Latino newcomers, The Toronto People with AIDS Foundation contributed funds in 2007 to provide meetings for Latino PHA’s to form a community and render social support and capacity building initiatives in the Spanish language.
Now we stand as an organization with approximately over 127 clients from Toronto, London, Ottawa and Montreal. We hope that Latinos everywhere will now know that this is your community and you are no longer alone. Nothing for us without us!
Co-Founder of Latinos Positivos
HIV has been a reality in the local Latino community since 30 years ago. This is the reason why programs and organizations that could help prevent its spread were created in Toronto.
Latin@s Positiv@s Ontario (LPO) was born in Toronto with PHAs from different parts of the Spanish and Portuguese Speaking Worlds. This includes some delegates from the International AIDS Conference, Toronto 2006, that came to the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation for support.
Although these people were seeking support to integrate into Canadian society, they also contributed to the creation of this organization since its conception.
Therefore, LPO becomes an organization mostly integrated by newcomers. With the collaboration of the local Latinas and Latinos, we bring together the knowledge and transfer it to a community that did not have an organization that they could call their own. Now LPO represents a provincial membership.
Although the organization has lost some leaders due to the many Mexican deportations, LPO has managed to remain alive, a result of community involvement.
Our experience shows that successful responses to HIV are based on leadership, commitment and responsibility of local people living with HIV. That´s the reason why LPO becomes an organization focused on creating community leaders from different cities of the province. We emphasize the importance of working with people who are most likely to affect or be affected by the spread of HIV. These people often come from marginalized groups who are most vulnerable and difficult to reach and are our spokespeople as educators in the HIV Poz Prevention Program.
With the support of its members, Latin@s Positv@s Ontario has created educational material including a leadership training manual and an educational video, Our Faces, Our Stories, for use in the growth of our leadership..
Co-Founder of Latinos Positivos