Apolonio Gomez

Ashoka Fellow
Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico
Fellow Since 2003

Citation

This profile was prepared when Apolonio Gomez was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2003.
The New Idea
Mexico's profound sexual health problems continue unabated largely because of problems of access: access to forums where people can talk openly about sexuality and sexual health; access to real information on AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, and pregnancy; and access to contraceptive products. Youth are the least likely to overcome barriers to access and are the most vulnerable to the dire, sometimes fatal consequences of uninformed sexual behavior. Apolonio discerned that to solve the access problems, efforts have to go to the people, notably young people, and reach them on a level where they can learn.
Apolonio started up a mobile sexual health outreach venture to bring essential sexual health information and products to those who would not otherwise get them. Both pragmatic and whimsical, his "CondomMobile" efficiently bears its lifesaving payload to far-flung corners and overlooked backwaters of Mexico, while capturing the attention of young people and passersby everywhere. Making strategic stops at plazas, parks, universities, and other gathering-places throughout the country, Apolonio gets through to young people in ways that conventional campaigns, workshops, and classes cannot. He uses audio, visual, and dramatic media, and person-to-person interaction, including stories about his own life with HIV. Apolonio partners with local AIDS and sexual health institutions both to gain a foothold in the communities he visits and to bolster the capacity of local institutions to serve the communities once the CondomMobile has driven away.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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