BY ABRAHAM GALVAN
South Florida News Service
For LGBT pride month, Out of the Closet thrift stores throughout South Florida are giving away five new Vespa scooters to encourage HIV testing.
“The mission is for more individuals, gay men in particular, get tested and know their status,” said Will Acosta, 25, assistant manager of Out of the Closet in Wilton Manors. “This will promote safer sex and prevention of catching HIV.”
When customers walk in, they are encouraged to get tested, hoping to win a new Vespa.
Out of the Closet is a national subsidiary of Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation. There are four South Florida locations and each will give away a Vespa valued at $4,800. The scooters are on display inside the thrift stores.
To qualify and get a chance to win, contestants need to get one-minute HIV tests in any of the four locations or at one of Out of the Closet's mobile testing units through June 29. Anyone over 18 with a valid Florida driver license is eligible.
In Wilton Manors, a fifth drawing will be held for one Vespa at 7 p.m. Saturday outside the store during the Stonewall Pride Street Festival. Winners must be present. If not, another ticket will be drawn.
The festival is noon to 11 p.m. and extends from Northeast 20th Street north to Wilton Drive and Dixie Highway. A pride parade along Wilton Drive begins 7 p.m.
Participants who get HIV tested during the Stonewall festival will be eligible to win Saturday night.
Drawings for the four remaining Vespas will take place on June 30. The winners will be contacted by phone.
“I had no idea this sweepstakes was taking place,” said customer David Wilson, 26, who decided to attend the weekend festivities after learning of the drawing.
Acosta said the festival will attract people from all over Florida and the nation, bringing more HIV awareness.
Carlos Rios, 23, a regular customer, agrees.
“I've already been tested recently but still will be attending the festivities in support of this cause,” Rios said.
IF YOU GO
What: Out of the Closet thrift stores' one-minute HIV testing
When: Testing hours inside the stores from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. through June 29.
Where: 2097 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors; 1785 E. Sunrise Blvd, Fort Lauderdale; 1510 Alton Rd. Miami Beach; and 2900 Biscayne Blvd, Miami.
For more information, visit www.outofthecloset.org
For more information about the Stonewall Pride Festival and Parade, visit www.stonewallpridewiltonmanors.com.