HIV-related philanthropy to Latin America in 2021:
As a complement to Philanthropic Support to Address HIV and AIDS in 2021, this regional profile provides a new level of data to help inform the advocacy of funders and communities active in the region. To spotlight the importance of investing in advocacy and human rights-based approaches, FCAA invited a grantee perspective from Letra S—a grantee of the Levi Strauss Foundation—in Mexico.
Letra S, Sida, Cultura y Vida Cotidiana, AC (Letra S)
Letra S, Sida, Cultura y Vida Cotidiana, AC (Letra S), located in Mexico City, Mexico, is a nonprofit civil society organization dedicated to the dissemination of information on issues related to the trinomial of health, sexuality and society, as well as the defense of human rights, LGBTQI people, and people living with HIV.
In Mexico, the HIV epidemic is highly concentrated in gay men and men who have sex with men (MSM). Although all people diagnosed with HIV have free access to treatment, the mortality rate has not been impacted, remaining practically the same in the last 15 years, whereas the number of new HIV infections has increased in the last five years.
The biggest obstacles to stopping the epidemic remain stigma and discrimination. Therefore, it is necessary to develop strategies to confront them, accompanied by actions to defend the human rights of people living with HIV and the communities most affected by the epidemic. It is also necessary to promote HIV diagnosis and guarantee universal access to prevention supplies such as screening tests and pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP/PEP).
The work of Letra S is focused on defending the human rights of people with HIV. For this purpose, the organization developed an intervention model based on the installation of human rights offices in public health centers specializing in HIV and AIDS care. These health centers serve the most vulnerable populations who have the highest risk of infection and do not have social security: MSM, sex workers, people who use drugs, transgender people, people deprived of their liberty, and low-income women.
These human rights offices are staffed by trained community workers from the most affected communities and are advised by a specialized human rights lawyer. The service provided include: Guidance on what to do in case of suffering discrimination or violation of rights; filing of complaints before autonomous organizations for the promotion and defense of human rights; dissemination of information on human rights related to HIV; and training and development of skills in defense of the rights of people with HIV.
This project, which began in 2010 and has benefited thousands of people with HIV, is financed exclusively with contributions from private donations.