Intercambios Puerto Rico (formerly Proyecto Casa de Ayuda Intermedia al Menesteroso, or CAIM) is a community-based organization located in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, that provides services and health education throughout 15 communities across the eastern section of the island. Its mission is to fight for a just society by empowering marginalized populations to fight for social change and policy reform through the use of advocacy and scientific evidence; Intercambios envisions a Puerto Rico where those marginalized populations have access to all opportunities for individual and collective development that makes it possible for them to attain a decent life and contribute to society.
Working from a scientific perspective of harm reduction through service provision, education, advocacy, and research, Intercambios’ services include harm reduction counseling and referrals to health and drug treatment services, and it operates one of the largest syringe exchange programs in Puerto Rico. Descriminalización.org, Intercambios PR’s drug policy change campaign, seeks alternatives to the criminalization of drugs in Puerto Rico. Understanding that the “war on drugs” has failed and that it affects Puerto Rico’s communities, Intercambios seeks to stimulate dialogue, critical analysis, and activism on the issues related to drug use, abuse, and dependence.
Partnership with Housing Works
Housing Works and Intercambios PR share a common mission of providing care and treatment to the most marginalized and vulnerable populations, including drug users, sex workers, the homeless, LGBT people, the impoverished, and people living with HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, and other chronic conditions. Housing Works has provided technical and fiscal assistance to Intercambios since 2008.
Housing Works and Intercambios spearhead advocacy efforts to empower drug users and people with HIV to lead the fight against the AIDS epidemic. Intercambios PR’s Executive Director Rafael Torruella, Ph.D., is an academic as well as a veteran activist. Intercambios clients often engage in large-scale advocacy protests. In 2011, they protested to protest demand adequate health care.
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We have Rafael Torruella’s abuela to thank for his advocacy on behalf of injection drug users.
“After college, where I studied drug-user research, my grandmother showed me a newspaper article about outreach that was happening in Puerto Rico. She said, ‘Look, this is what people are doing about what you’re …
May 26, 2011
Spurred by the recent deaths of five drug users who could not access health care, a group of 20 AIDS activists in Fajardo, Puerto Rico protested outside the mayor’s office last week. They demanded local leaders develop critical services for people living with and at risk of HIV.
“The event today …
March 2, 2011
Help us advocate for the rights of all people living with HIV/AIDS