5 questions with Efren Garcia
Efren Garcia is an outreach worker with the Greater Dallas Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse. He also volunteers with several AIDS-related organizations and is co-chair of the local host committee for the HIV Prevention Leadership Summit opening June 4 in Dallas. The summit is being presented by the Centers for Disease Control and the National Minority AIDS Council.
What does your job with the GDCADA entail?
I go into different communities to offer HIV education, testing and other services. From my experience, there is a direct correlation between alcohol and drug use and unsafe sexual behavior. People under the influence of drugs or alcohol don’t make proper decisions.
What organizations do you volunteer with?
I volunteer with the HIV/SIDA Coalition and with the North Central Texas HIV Prevention Community Planning Group as a core leader. I was also recently appointed to the Education and Culture Committee for Valiente, an organization for GLBT Latinos. I am vice chair of the committee, and we are putting together a lot of events designed to enrich and empower GLBT Latinos and our community.
How long have you been involved in HIV-related work?
I have worked in the field of HIV prevention for about five years. I was involved in a research study UT Southwestern helping monitor the infection rates among gay and bisexual men in the DFW area. I also worked at the Resource Center of Dallas for awhile where I was in charge of developing a social marketing campaign for Latinos.
How did you first get involved in this work?
When I moved to Dallas, my first job here was at the Resource Center. My boss there, Jesus Geliga, really motivated me to become more and more involved in prevention efforts at every level.
What did you do before you came to Dallas?
I grew up in Odessa and left there when I went into the Army. When I got out of the military, I decided instead of going back there to dry up and die like a weed, I would come to Dallas to sprout and grow.
Soundout is a weekly column featuring people whose jobs and interests have an impact on the daily lives of members of the GLBT community. It features those who often go unnoticed by the press and community. If you’d like to recommend someone to cover in this column, contact staff writer Tammye Nash at email@example.com.