Carlos Bermudez – Director of Health Services
Carlos is a bilingual and bicultural Colombian and has been providing culturally and linguistically sensitive clinical services (case management, individual, group and family counseling and therapy) for over 12 years. He has focused on immigrants, LGBTQ individuals living with HIV, and immigrants and refugees diagnosed with severe mental illness. Mr. Bermudez has provided clinical supervision and managed programs for 8 years. Mr. Bermudez oversee the Health Services department at Asian & Pacific Wellness Center in San Francisco, supervising a team who provides HIV Treatment, Care and management as well as HIV prevention and substance abuse education via HIV and Hepatitis testing, street and bar outreach, individual counseling, educational workshops and support groups, and retreats to the following Asian and Pacific Islander (A&PI) communities: Transgender, queer youth and gay and bisexual men, Carlos also oversee a wrap-around drop-in service center offering psycho educational workshops, case management, and social programs, to support transgender of color. He is a graduate of Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Cali, Colombia with a Master of Arts Degree in Clinical and Organizational Psychology.
Alex Baty – Testing Clinic Coordinator
Alex immigrated to the United States from the island of Guam in 1999 to attend art school. Volunteering as a peer leader at the Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center changed his life dramatically. In 2005, he dropped out of art school, took a job running raMEN, the Men’s Program, at A&PIWC and focused on community work. He joined the board of Gay Asian Pacific Alliance in 2006, and served as Social Chair for many years before becoming Co-Chair of the organization. Noticing other gaps in the A&PI LGBT community, in 2009 Alex formed the Rice Rockettes, a Bay -Area-wide drag troupe to create a safe space for creative individuals who want to express themselves artistically through drag. The Rice Rockettes also serve to bring awareness to community issues and support local causes by producing charity fundraiser shows or providing entertainment to community groups.
Alex now runs the Testing Clinic at A&PIWC and currently also serves on the LGBT Advisory Committee for the Human Rights Commission.
Anna Rivera – Candy Shop Team Leader
Anna Rivera was born in Mexico to a Mexican mother and a Japanese father at nineteen she was diagnosed with HIV and since then has been working as an activist and educator of race, gender and HIV for over six years. Her work focuses on Transwomen of color, Transwomen affected with HIV and transgender youth. She currently sits on the board for Bay Area Young Positives, Trans Thrive and the Trans March.
In addition to being a HIV Test Counselor and Recruiter for Candy Shop, Anna also runs a once a week for five weeks Healthy Relationships workshop located at TRANSThrive.
Celia Gomez – Candy Shop Team Leader
Celia Gomez, our team leader at Candy Shop, is an immigrant transgender Latina woman from Honduras, Central America. She works as a Health Educator for Instituto Familiar de la Raza/Latino AIDS Services. She has 10 years of experience providing HIV prevention and care services for Transgender women of color, with especial emphasis on monolingual Spanish speaking women.
Celia has worked closely with the Jail Health Services staff (Forensic AIDS Project) co-facilitating health workshops that entail HIV prevention education, self-esteem, co-dependency, substance use and other issues related to the struggles that Transgenders face in their daily life. In this capacity she also provides individual case management sessions providing information on Transgender specific services in San Francisco, including medical services. She is an advocate for transgender prisoners by ensuring that they receive client centered services, from a cultural, linguistic and gender sensitive approach.
Celia has been a member of the HIV Prevention Plan Council (HPPC) for approximately two years, advocating for her community.
Za’Auri Awiti – Candy Shop Test Counselor and Recruiter
Za’Auri Awiti has a lot of love and respect for the queer and homeless youth in the Bay Area, because it is this population that she identifies with the most. She understands many issues that face LGBTQQ youth on the streets, but believes it is possible to move on to a more stable and positive environment. In her own words, “It’s important that everyone who can and is able to reach out to our youth so that maybe one day there won’t have as many youth as there is now on the streets.”
Za’Auri has worked customer service until she moved to San Francisco where she became a peer leader at Trans Thrive, helping with the Needle Exchange program. She is currently a HIV Test Counselor and Recruiter on the Candy Shop team.