By: Jose Luis Castro Chuquillanqui, Lima, Peru
Casa Abierta (“Open House”) is a strategy that has been implemented for several years in Lima, Peru – a space to talk, share experiences, learn, meet friends, play, laugh, sing, dance and spend pleasant moments.
At the Via Libre site, we have incorporated this activity, and events are organized with the participation of the lesbian, gay, transgender, and bisexual (LGTB) communities. We have held different programs such as theme parties, karaoke, bingo, conversations, talks, emblematic events, and much more. Through Casa Abierta, we have organized various conversations and educational sessions with topics of interest to communities such as sexuality, sexual diversity, sexual orientation, health care, sexually transmitted infections, homophobia, and stigma and discrimination associated with HIV, among others. These activities provide information, sensitizing and empowering communities in health and community issues.
The recurrent theme is HIV infection. In Peru, HIV infection disproportionately impacts transgender persons, bisexuals, and men who have sex with men, with a prevalence ranging from 12% to 30% in males and trans females respectively. Transmission through unprotected sex is most common, with 97% of cases reporting this behavior. It is for this reason that there is interest to discuss the subject very frequently. Everyone knows and provides information on ways to prevent infection. It is also in this space that we share information on new studies and new prevention strategies, such as the AMP study, a novel study with great potential to prevent HIV.
“The recurrent theme is HIV infection. In Peru, HIV infection disproportionately impacts transgender persons, bisexuals, and men who have sex with men, with a prevalence ranging from 12% to 30% in males and trans females respectively.”
Additionally, recreational activities allow socializing, getting to know each other, fraternizing, bonding and building interpersonal relationships. Singing, dancing, and games are excellent ways to make friends, to learn, and to expand our networks. Via Libre organizes an open house at the end of each month and it is open to the public. All are welcome. If you are ever in Lima, Peru, we would love for you to join us so we can shower you with love and appreciation. For more details, you can follow us on Facebook:
*Jose Luis Castro Chuquillanqui is the lead Community Educator for the Via Libre CRS in Lima, Peru.