The following are comments made on behalf of Senator Serrano by his constituent liaison, Carmen Arroyo, at the 2007 Northern Manhattan HIV/AIDS Profile Conference. A Senate Proclamation was then presented to Martín Orduna, director of the East Harlem HIV Care Network.
Good morning. I am here on behalf of State Senator José M. Serrano, who is in Albany right now, finalizing the state budget. The Senator wanted me to convey how much he appreciates and respects the work you are doing in East Harlem.
This is a community with extremely high rates of HIV and AIDS compared to the rest of the city. The good news is death rates have dropped dramatically over the past decade, and many more adults are getting tested for HIV every year.
But the fight is far from over. With a rising immigrant population in East Harlem, we need to make sure that quality health care is provided to everyone – no matter their race, income, or their legal status.
This means raising awareness, and letting people know they have nothing to fear by taking advantage of government and non-profit services.
And let us not forget gender. As woman, we are often fighting an uphill battle – against discrimination, domestic violence, equal pay and the double and triple duties of motherhood.
HIV/AIDS is part of that uphill battle, and one that we're going to win. We cannot let this virus run undetected in our blood streams! We have to prevent it, confront it, treat it, and overcome it.
And we're so fortunate to have the Care Network and Sisterlink leading the way.
Martín, you already know this, but you are an inspiration to us all – not just because of your hard work and commitment, but also the passion and sincerity you bring to the job. On behalf of the Senator, thank you so much for everything you have done, and will continue to do for this community.