Elias Diaz is a native of Eagle Pass, TX. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California in International Relations, and completed his Master's Degree in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University in Los Angeles. He is certified by the Academy of Cognitive Therapy in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and has received specialized training in Prolonged Exposure for PTSD from the University of Pennsylvania. He is also a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, with 10 years of clinical experience. Since his return to Eagle Pass, Elias has shifted focus to use his skills and passion for the LGBT community. He has co-founded the first LGBTQA Non-Profit Organization, EP SAFE, which serves the rural communities of the Southwest Texas Border Region. He has also taken a position as a Mental Health Clinician with Maverick County Hospital District, where he is currently working to improve health outcomes for people living with HIV. His most recent work, The Sexual Health Project, focuses on bridging an alliance between EP SAFE (Sexuality Advocacy for Everyone) and MCHD to address gaps in the HIV Care Continuum. The aim of this project is to increase awareness of preventive measures, decrease barriers to preventive care, and address negative attitudes about HIV to effectively reduce the risk of new contractions. EP SAFE actively works to reduce LGBTQ stigma, a prominent barrier to care, by reinforcing community ties. Through his leadership in this organization, he is working close with leaders in Del Rio to recreate the success of EP SAFE. Through this joint program, both rural communities are addressing LGBTQ stigma and raise awareness on sexual health.
As an Ambassador for the Greater than Aids Texas Spanish language campaign, he's brought local and statewide attention to the topic of prevention. Using not just the ads, but personal interviews and personal conversations, he has advocated for the use of PrEP for HIV prevention particularly among Latino MSM. His Spanish language interviews on Telemundo and Televisa have also garnished wida spread attention on topic of HIV and delivered the message to a hard-to-reach population.
Elias is a proud member of the Texas HIV Syndicate, where he serves as Regional Launch Coordinator for the Texas Achieving Together plan. He also serves as a contributing expert in the
development of HIV Prevention in The United States, Bolstering Latino Gay and Bisexual Men to Promote and Reduce HIV Transmission by The O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, where he works closely with other leaders to influence policies that shape the way HIV services are delivered.