2018 saw a significant expansion of sexually transmitted infection (STI) education and testing into the Twin Cities Latino community in partnership with the Mexican and Ecuadorian Consulates of Minnesota. After tabling at the consulates, Community Health Educator Elika Clara Rodriguez saw the need for more active involvement in the community. NHS began offering presentations on sexual health and free STI testing on location at both consulates.
In 2018, 583 people got tested for STIs, heard a presentation, talked to a Community Health Educator or were referred for primary care at one of our clincs.
Elika and fellow C.H.E. Desmond Grady visited the consulates multiple times each month to give presentations about STIs and sexual health, offer free on-site testing, and spread the word about the wide array of medical services offered at NHS’s clinics.
STIs and sexual health are often considered taboo topics in the Latino community, so at the consulates, young people welcomed the opportunity to learn and get tested. “Many Latino teens fear the backlash that could come from the conversation like judgment from parents and their church,” Desmond explains. By offering these services in a trusted community space such as the consulate, he and Elika have opportunities to challenge the stigma around sexual health and help people of all ages address important topics like STIs and birth control.
“When I see people unafraid to get tested [for STIs], that’s when I know the community is hearing my message,” Elika says. “That’s when I know the presentations are working.”
Think you may have an STI? We host weekly walk-in testing hours at several clinic locations. You can also schedule an appointment with one of our providers by calling (612) 588-9411. Teen visits are always private and confidential, whether with a provider or a Community Health Educator.