Location: Washington, DC
Race/Ethnicity: African American
What motivates you in the fight against HIV/AIDS?
I've been living with HIV now for ½ of my life. I was diagnosed at age 16. I made a few promises to myself, as well as to HIV on that day. I made a promise that this is my body and it belongs to me. So, I would not live with HIV; it must live with me. I believe that if a person wants to gain life, they should give it away in service. If they want to lose their life, they should keep it for themselves. And, I made the promise to defeat HIV at all costs; by particularly serving my community of persons who are infected and affected by HIV. That community is humanity.
What can people do to help find an HIV vaccine?
I am very encouraged and overwhelmed with enthusiasm that over the past two years, we have seen awesome advancements in HIV prevention research. This gives me great hope that we not only can be, but we will be the generation to find an HIV vaccine. And, we know that it will require our hearts, minds, resources, funding, work, and commitment to see this to fruition. But, we also know that hope takes action. Now is not the time to waiver or retreat. This is something that we must do!
What does your community need to know about an HIV vaccine?
I think the community needs to know that there is so much research going on right now. There are hundreds and thousands of individuals who are tirelessly striving everyday to find an HIV vaccine. There are hundreds and thousands of volunteers who participate in research everyday to help find an HIV vaccine. I want them to know that they can be a part of this movement. They can help! And, there are many ways to help. Not everyone will be a researcher, but they can be a volunteer. Not everyone will participate in a clinical trial, but they support the effort and spread the message. Not everyone will attend a recruitment event, but they can post an ad on facebook or twitter. Not everyone will use social media, but they can help to educate their communities. However they choose to help, we need them.