Latinos Salud’s Hispanic Heritage Food Bazaar takes place Friday, Oct 4 from 6-9 p.m. at ArtServe in Fort Lauderdale. The 8th annual event celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month and commemorates National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day.

“This year’NLAAD theme is about bringing together people living with HIV and those that are not to combat HIV,” said Joshua Caraballo, Research and Evaluation Coordinator for Latinos Salud. “It really falls in line with what we do today.” 

The event is free but organizers are asking guests to register beforehand.

Each table at the event will represent a different Latin American country and cuisine. So far 17 countries are being represented this year, up from 12 last year. Guests can sign up to represent a country or just attend the event and enjoy the free food. There will also be prizes for best food, best decorations, and best traditional dress. 


On a more serious note Caraballo said that 24 percent of people living with HIV in the U.S. are Hispanic, and 77 percent of those folks are men who sleep with men. To combat those numbers Caraballo said it’s important to embrace one’s own heritage.  

“My parents tried to Americanize me. It stifled me growing up. I always looked to whiteness as my guide and I always felt less than,” said Caraballo, who is Puerto Rican. “It wasn’t until I embraced my heritage, that I accepted myself and overcame the internal stigma.

Caraballo noted that his parents intent was to make sure he wasn’t discriminated against growing up. 

“But denying a part of ourselves whether it’s living with HIV, or our heritage, or because we are LGBTQ, we live with this fear of not being accepted and we don’t feel whole,” he said.

Caraballo said for Hispanics there are cultural and language barriers that have to be overcome in order to address the HIV epidemic in the Hispanic community. 

Noe Inestroza, Broward PrEP and Navigation Services Lead for Latinos Salud, encourages everyone to come and enjoy the event regardless of whether you are Hispanic. The event, he noted, is for the whole community. 

“Who doesn’t like food, right? And even better it’s free food,” Inestroza said. Caraballo added, “It’s some of the best food I ever had. Food brings people together. It warms your heart.” 

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