In addition to running Stop VIH, Mr. Rodriguez has collaborated with a number of entities including fellow alumni, U.S. and Venezuelan NGOs, and media partners to create a series of forums and workshops to raise awareness about HIV and sexual diversity, stigma, discrimination, homophobia, hate crimes, bullying and rejection, called “LGBTI Diversity and HIV in Venezuela: Paths to Inclusion." He has also partnered with IVLP alumna, Ana Arias, to create a series of educational radio public service announcements titled “Super Saludable” (Super Healthy) to promote messages to improve quality of life, and also with IVLP alumna Yanet Fermin, to help educate the youth population of Nueva Esparta about HIV. His initiatives have international and local support from the Casimiro Global Foundation and Venezuela’s Fundación Polar.
When reflecting upon his 2013 exchange, Mr. Rodriguez talks about how he was profoundly affected both professionally and personally. “My participation in the IVLP inspired me to have the idea to develop the StopVIH app for smart devices, after visiting the Northeastern University in Boston. This life-changing experience has allowed me to establish new institutional links that have strengthened our work and has motivated me to create a regional network of non-governmental organizations specialized in LGBTI affairs in the near future. On a personal level, I experienced immense growth and I am eager to continue doing my job, promoting actions and projects to contribute to the public health of my community and thus contribute to the development of my country.”
In the past, Mr. Rodriguez has commemorated World AIDS Day by coordinating volunteer projects with other IVLP alumni that focus on children with HIV, but this year, his organization, Stop VIH, is coordinating the event “Education, Communication and Culture unite against HIV”, which will tackle stigma through the stories of individuals that have chosen to make their status public and are helping to break down the wall of silence. PAS Caracas is sponsoring a U.S. speaker for this event.