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EPES has been able to use these new opportunities to work with governmental and private entities to improve prevention and services (see the sidebars on AIDS and sexual violence, pp.
Finally, one of the biggest challenges for EPES in the 21st century will be its own long-term survival in promoting grassroots health work through close links with popular sectors and a broad vision of health issues in the ever-shifting global context.
EPES has taken a long, hard look at itself as an institution to see how it can fulfill its commitment to stay on for the long haul in community health promotion.
In addition, due to the need to take on more responsibility for itself and to operate with greater autonomy as it grows as an institution, as well as to raise funds nationally, EPES decided to leave the aegis of the Lutheran Church and establish itself as an independent foundation, although the two entities maintain close links.
Early on the AIDS epidemic, EPES joined in efforts by gay men's organizations, sex workers' collectives, women s groups and networks, human rights groups and others to respond to the expansion of HIV infection.
But in its work with low-income women, EPES saw that none of these options really fit the realities of their lives.
As EPES' summary of the experience states, "Local women define their problems and are the main protagonists in the search for solutions.
Another initiative by EPES in the AIDS field, implemented jointly with the multisectoral AIDS network in El Bosque, are the Community Conversations on AIDS and Sexuality (JOCCSIDA), which use a methodology developed for sex education in schools.
EPES wants to continue to strengthen the focus on women and poverty in the HIV/AIDS area through visibilizing locally the gender-related vulnerabilities of women becoming infected.
As part of its strategy to open up new issues and mobilize individuals and organizations for the improvement of health services, EPES carried out a research project on sexual violence in the comuna of San Ramon.
After concluding the project, the EPES team prepared a presentation and a poster on the issue to disseminate the results.
One of the best examples of the strategy of EPES to combine individual aspects with structural aspects when they confront health problems is the work of the Concepcion team in neighborhood of Hualpencillo.
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