Latino Community Services is a comprehensive HIV/AIDS nonprofit organization serving Latino clients, as well as the general public, in the Hartford area. In 1986, a group of community leaders got together to organize a series of support groups for individuals newly diagnosed with AIDS. As the epidemic grew and more Latinos in the Hartford area became infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS, these individuals took a leadership role and started to advocate for more culturally appropriate programs and interventions to treat and halt the spread of the disease.
Today, Latino Community Services continues to focus on providing community health services that include: health education, prevention programs, counseling and testing and the coordination of services for people living with HIV/AIDS such as case management, transportation services, and harm reduction programs.
The Latino community in Connecticut is disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS. Latinos comprise approximately 10 percent of Connecticut's population, but 32 percent of those diagnosed with HIV in 2008 and 35 percent of those diagnosed with AIDS in 2008 were Latino/Hispanic.
Executive Director Yvette Bello said, "Last year, donors and sponsors raised almost $20,000. Your donations help us weather fluctuations in government funding and continue providing quality services. There is still a lot of need -- we need people to come and support this event."
This year, the AIDS Quilt that was sewn in 2008 and 2009 will be displayed at the AIDS Walk.
Registration begins at 1 p.m. The registration fee is $20 for people who register online prior to Friday, April 30, and is $25 for people who register the day of the Walk. Kids under 12 walk free. The Walk will begin at 1:30 p.m. and is a 5K loop. For more information, to register, and to get sponsor forms, visit www.lcs-ct.org.