A Day In Prison

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Of the 176 prisoners at the Centro Penal (15 of them women) 40 elected to have HIV tests done, a quarter of them women.  Our team is led by a dynamo of a nurse, Licenciada Ana, who has rejuvenated the approach to the education and treatment of HIV/AIDS in the departamento of La Paz.  All university graduates in the country are called Licenciado, hence yours truly, who has also been appointed to the board of the Comite Interinstitucional de Lucha Ante el VIH/SIDA, a group organized of different community activists to fight the scourge of HIV in the country, Central America’s highest.  My title on the comite is that of an Asesor-Tecnico, sort of like an educator.  Each departamento has a comite.  I personally interviewed and provided HIV counseling to 8 prisoners who chose to be tested.  The bottom pics show our arrival at the prison and the top left pic shows our team of health care workers, four of whom were auxiliary nurses in training.  It is an honor to have been selected to work with these dedicated professionals.  Three weeks ago, a brand-new CAI clinic (Centro de Asistencia Integral) opened at the hospital in La Paz, a clinic focused on the education and treatment of those in the community diagnosed with HIV.  It will be a challenge to try and overcome the stigma and discrimination in the local populace that accompanies a diagnosis like this in a semi-rural community whose citizens still take pride in being known as a Paceno, someone who was born here, and who subsequently takes pride in knowing everyones’ lineage.

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About Fortunato Velasquez

Fortunato Velasquez received his Registered Nurse's license from the State of California during the month that Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. On February 15, 2020, my friend and the director of the Fundación Señor San José in La Paz, La Paz, Honduras, Sister Edith Suazo Fernandez died at the age of 47. https://youtu.be/Poqcf0vn0qQ This a video of her funeral.

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