Vallarta Gay+ Community Center Gets New Home, Adds Board Member

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Puerto Vallarta’s new Gay+ Community Center has a new home at 101 Morelos Street Local 3B, Colonia Centro, (above the Santander Bank by Rio Cuale and the bridge entering Zona Romantica).

VGCC had been providing services in space provided by ThrIVe IV and Med Spa since January 2024. The new space on Morelos opened Monday, May 13, 2024. Signage has been ordered but it’s not up yet. 

The 50 square meter space includes a waiting room, storage room, two clinical spaces and an office/conference room. A receptionist sits just outside the door. To get inside, ring a doorbell and someone will greet you and let you in. 

The conference room and office space in the new VGCC. Photo by Oscar Almeida.
The conference room and office space in the new VGCC. Photo by Oscar Almeida.

Current staff include Pedro Lopez, executive director; Dr. Ashlee Hernandez Castellón, medical director and Nurse Fatima Farias Martinez. 

Services provided include PrEP, PEP, DoxyPep, and STI testing, all aimed at safeguarding the health and well-being of community members. Doxycycline Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (DoxyPEP) is an antibiotic, taken after sex, acts as a morning-after pill for STIs, further emphasizing the center’s commitment to comprehensive healthcare.

Dr. Ashlee Hernandez Castellón, medical director, in the new exam room. Photo by Oscar Almeida.
Dr. Ashlee Hernandez Castellón, medical director, in the new exam room. Photo by Oscar Almeida.

“We have seen more than 300 patients seeking PrEP, or other services,” Lopez told Out and About PV. You can also secure free condoms and lubricant there.

A grand opening celebration and open house will be held towards the end of May. 

For appointments or information contact via WhatsApp – +52 322 128 6793. The VGCC is open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

Nurse Fatima Farias Martinez in her new clinical space. Photo by Oscar Almeida.
Nurse Fatima Farias Martinez in her new clinical space. Photo by Oscar Almeida.

New Board Member and VCGG Seeking Additional Board Members

Matt Karimi has joined the board of directors of the VGCC. 

Gay+ Community Center Donor Appreciation Event
Matt Karimi, new board member and chair of fundraising for the VGCC. Photo by Oscar Almeida

“Matt will be taking on the vital role of Fundraising Chair. Alongside his husband, David Smith, Matt has already demonstrated remarkable dedication and prowess by contributing to a significant fundraising effort, amassing over $80,000 USD for the center,” explained Jet De La Isla, communications chair for the board. “We are excited to see how his leadership will continue to enrich our community.”

The board of directors for the Vallarta Gay+ Community Center includes (left to right) Mikel Alvarez, treasurer; Dr. Ashlee Hernandez Castellón (medical director); Pedro Lopez, executive director; (second row) Matt Karimi, chair of fundraising; Jet De La Isla, communications chair; Don Pickens, president; Mike Owens, secretary. Photo by Oscar Almeida.
The board of directors for the Vallarta Gay+ Community Center includes (left to right) Mikel Alvarez, treasurer; Dr. Ashlee Hernandez Castellón (medical director); Pedro Lopez, executive director; (second row) Matt Karimi, chair of fundraising; Jet De La Isla, communications chair; Don Pickens, president; Mike Owens, secretary. Photo by Oscar Almeida.

Operating as a program of VallartaCares.Org (Alacena por Amor a Vallarta), Directors Don Pickens (President) and Mike Owens (Secretary) were appointed to two-year terms. Jet De La Isla (Communications Chair), Matt Karimi (Fundraising Chair) and Mikel Alvarez (Treasurer) will serve one-year terms. After that year, all members will serve two year terms in staggered periods.

The Center is also seeking to expand the Board of Directors. 

“We are looking for additional board members who are passionate about our LGBTQ+ community, local to Vallarta, and can bring valuable insights and expertise to our evolving center. This is an excellent opportunity for committed individuals to make a lasting impact on our community’s well-being,” said Don Pickens, president of the board. 

Javier Jimenez, who joined the initial Interim Board of Directors, will transition to a new Advisory Board which will garner more community input to the Center. 

“We’re delighted that Javier will continue to add his valuable input to the Center in this post,” said Mikel Alvarez, treasurer.

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