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September 13, 2001

The first Latino religious summit on sexuality, "Breaking the Silence: del púlpito a la mesa de la cocina" (from the pulpit to the kitchen table), will be held September 15-16 at the First Baptist Church, 760 South Westmoreland Avenue, Los Angeles. It is the first national gathering to open dialogue among Latino religious leaders on reproductive health and sexuality issues. The sponsor is the interfaith Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.

The summit is being convened to address urgent health issues. The Latino community is disproportionately affected by teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and HIV/AIDS. Three out of five Latina teens become pregnant (double the rate for non-Latino whites). AIDS is the third leading cause of death for Latinas age 25-44.

Health columnist Aliza A. Lifshitz, M.D., talks about the importance of the summit in her September 5 column in La Opinión, one of the largest and most prestigious Spanish-language dailies in the U.S.

Dr. Lifshitz writes that Reverend Ignacio Castuera of Los Angeles, organizer of the summit, "thinks it is time to unite clergy, religious educators and other leaders in the community to initiate a new dialogue" about sexuality issues. Research data show that church involvement is important in preventing teen pregnancy, according to Reverend Castuera.

Reverend Castuera predicts that the summit will provide "a unique opportunity to learn, develop partnerships, and give voice to topics that are generally discussed outside of the church," Dr. Lifshitz
writes. Sexuality issues are taboo in most Latino churches.

For more information and to register, call 1-800-337-6692.

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