Another Year of Connecting and Learning: A Recap from the 2023 National Latinx Conference on HIV, HCV, and SUD

Submitted on Jun 30, 2023


Samantha Rose Montemayor, Marissa Gonzalez, and others at NaLa.

By Samantha Rose Montemayor

Lee en español

The 2023 National Latinx Conference on HIV, Hepatitis C (HCV), and Substance Use Disorder (SUD) – also known as NaLa – took place in New Orleans, Louisiana, May 11 – 13, 2023. Two members of The Well Project's community advisory board were on the ground, connecting with community members and sharing materials in Spanish and English at The Well Project's exhibit booth. Read on for one of their perspectives from this important community gathering.

The first time I attended the National Latinx Conference on HIV, Hepatitis C (HCV), and Substance Use Disorder (SUD), it was in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 2022. I had the honor to be chosen to present at my first national conference. The topic was "Cis and Trans Transactional Sex Workers in the Rio Grande Valley." At that time I was able to present about how difficult it was for cis and trans women to live through the COVID-19 pandemic, and also show how we were able to encourage the girls to work together as one – as women. We taught the girls self-defense, know your rights, and health education. These were just some of the topics we covered in the eight-session training we provided for both cis and trans women who did sex work in the Rio Grande Valley, a South Texas border region.

This year's conference, which happened in New Orleans on May 11-13, was full of familiar faces of individuals whom I had worked with in the past. While this year I was not a presenter, I was able to participate in the exhibition hall representing The Well Project as a proud member of the CAB (community advisory board). I was able to interact with over 248 people that stopped by our table to get information on women living with HIV. One of our most popular topics was women and breast/chestfeeding.

I was also able to attend a workshop on "Latines Committing to Zero Homophobia and Zero Transphobia." In this session I was able to learn how, in order for us to end homophobia and transphobia, we need to first end our internal homophobia and transphobia. We learned how social determinants of health inequity affect how we see our LGBTQ communities, and how stigma affects our communities similarly to the stigma of HIV.

I recommend that anyone who would like to get empowered with information on HIV, HCV, and SUD attend this conference, especially if you are working with Latino populations. This is the place to be able to interact with other community members who are like you.

More from the 2023 National Latinx Conference on HIV, HCV, and SUD


Members of The Well Project community at USCHA 2022.

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