Community Profiles

Damon H

Location: Seattle, WA
Race/Ethnicity: African American

What motivates you to help find an HIV vaccine?

As I look at VHS tapes and DVDs, I realize that many of my peers in the house/ball community have died as a result of AIDS-related complications. My community, like many others, refuses to openly discuss HIV/AIDS and its impact. So I pledged to help find a vaccine to prevent another person from dying.

What is your community doing in the fight against HIV/AIDS?

Some of our leaders discuss prevention options within their families; while others join the fight through volunteer and employment opportunities at AIDS service and community-based organizations. We often host ball events that increase knowledge of HIV, provide resource options for treatment/care and enhance skills around condom application/negotiations.

What does your community need to know about an HIV vaccine?

The house/ball community needs opportunities to meet with scientist to discuss their concerns around safety and confidentiality. More so, they need to feel like true and authentic partners in the search for a safe and effective vaccine.