Location: Birmingham, AL
Race/Ethnicity: African American
What motivates you in the fight against HIV/AIDS?
My motivation comes from the burning desire I have to see the burden of HIV/AIDS lifted off the hearts of my close friends and community members who are infected. I am motivated by the thought of one day living in a world where people are not afraid to love each other physically without the looming thoughts of HIV/AIDS. I am motivated by those around me who live day in and day out blazing trails and setting the foundation for future generations to benefit.
What is your community doing in the fight against HIV/AIDS?
My community has made a conscience effort to work together to fight HIV/AIDS. Organizations and companies that would not normally collaborate have banned together to inform the community and care for those who are infected. Our local media outlets; news, radio and print have all sent representation to the table to build on efforts to combat HIV/AIDS. We have taken a stance against the epidemic and we are working together through the usage of community advisory boards and coalitions whose mission is to end HIV/AIDS.
What does your community need to know about an HIV vaccine?
My community needs more detailed information about the vaccine. The entertainment industry places an immense amount of publicity behind new movies or concerts; I believe we should use the same model to educate the community. Cities should be flooded with posters, billboards, fliers, commercials etc. People should not be able to turn on their television or radio without hearing a public service announcement or some type of communication about HIV vaccine research. Aside from those of us who are working in the community telling the story, it is almost as if vaccine research is being kept a secret. The community needs a more robust push behind efforts to publicize vaccine research.