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Ricardo Baruch is a Mexican activist and researcher who is very much involved in HIV/AIDS issues. With 15 years of experience in the sexual health field, he’s a go-to person for many when it comes to statistics and the latest information in his country. We sat down with this #BlueRibbonBoy to learn more about him.
Tell me a little about yourself.
I’m a good citizen, a guy who dreams of a fair and healthy world—one where everyone respects human rights. I’m an activist and researcher for the prevention of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). I have worked for 15 years in sexual health organizations and human rights, and right now I’m studying for a doctorate in health sciences at the National Institute of Public Health in Mexico.
What led you to become the person you are now?
In my teen years I had doubts about my sexuality (like most of us do), and I approached an organization called ‘Mexfam.’ In time they invited me to volunteer, and while being there, I realized that in Mexico the promotion and care of sexual and reproductive health is very much lacking. All my life I have been surrounded by people living with HIV; I have known many people who died from AIDS-related illnesses; I have had friends who have been discriminated against for living with the virus and so on. We live in a society where HIV is a big part of our community, therefore we have to do what we can so that those who already live with the virus aren’t discriminated against, and those who are negative have the possibility of living their sexuality free of sexually transmitted infections. In Mexico, one in six gay men and MSM may be living with HIV.
Why is it important for you to be part of Hornet’s #BlueRibbonBoys?
I think the technology, including smartphones and apps, give us an extra chance to have fun but also to inform us and give us tools for prevention. Since Hornet is such an important space to make contacts, it is important that it also facilitates the possibility of raising awareness about issues related to sexual health.
What do you do to stay up-to-date on HIV?
All my work revolves around HIV and health in general, so let’s just say that I always have the latest and most complete information on HIV. And when it comes to me and my health I always get tested at least once a year and with some regularity get tested for other STIs.
How do you promote and inform your followers?
I share lots of information through my social media (Twitter and Facebook). There you’ll find statistics about HIV and other STIs in Mexico and the world. In addition, I am always sharing images of prevention campaigns around the world as well as articles on new HIV-related findings. In fact, I also write articles on sexual health for soyhomosensual.com (find them here).
Will you be doing something special for this year’s World HIV Day?
Yes, I’m going to participate in a couple of events talking about some of the topics I’m researching: bareback sex, PrEP and chemsex. The events are organized by Government Institutions ( INJUVE, CENSIDA and IMJUVE). And at night, I’ll be attending a concert organized by an organization for the World HIV Day at the Monument of the Revolution where lots of artists will perform. It’s a free event, so feel free to come.
Find out more about Ricardo’s work at the following websites: