According to the Department of the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, Latinx people accounted for almost 30 percent of all HIV transmissions in 2019, and Latinx men are four times as likely to have HIV than white men.
It’s these types of statistics that inspired the creation of a new health and wellness web series from Latino Alternative TV (LATV.com). My Health Agenda aims to provide a much-needed safe space for LGBTQ+ Latinx people to talk about sexual health, mental health, and any others issues unique to this diverse community.
“My Health Agenda represents what we do best at LATV,” says Andres Palencia, creator and director of the series. “We empowered incredibly talented creators from our community to bring a unique series to life that gives visibility and representation to members of our community who make us proud in a way that is genuine, creative and original.”
My Health Agenda premiered last month and is releasing its fifth episode today — but don’t fret if you haven’t had a chance to catch them yet, all episodes will have a permanent home on LATV, which is a free media service. This episode introduces us to Dr. Ariel Ourian, a prominent plastic surgeon with vast experience helping queer and trans members of the Latinx community. Check it out to hear Dr. Ourian’s candid conversation with the first four guests of the series to focus on dispelling some of the myths, stigmas and fears around health that the LGBTQ+ community might experience.
The premiere episode features Erick Velasco from The Homo Homie Podcast, who opens up about being raised in a traditional Latinx family as a gay Latino, and how he learned to accept his HIV-positive diagnosis and finally love himself. Episode 2 introduces trans and recovery advocate Jennifer Rodriguez, who discusses her struggles in surviving addiction, sex work, and an HIV diagnosis — and how she eventually became an inspiring asset to her community. In the third episode, social media influencer Curly Velasquez chats about everything from body image to cultural expectations to substance abuse, and episode 4 features HIV activist Vasilios Papapitsios, who shares his journey of growing up Latinx and queer in the South.
“As Latinos, it can be difficult to bring up health-related conversations for a number of reasons, adds Palencia. “We decided to create this series as a loving and creative ‘ice breaker’ of sorts so we can normalize health-related conversations for LGBTQ+ people — especially Latinos.”
Watch the trailer for My Health Agenda below, and click here to watch all episodes on LATV.