HIV has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. I grew up in SF during the AIDS epidemic. I was young, but I distinctly remember the day the AIDS Memorial Quilt came to my school. I was terrified and sad. They let me touch the quilt and, as my teeny hand grazed the fabric, I wept. So many beautiful souls were dying and no one knew how to stop it.
The fight against HIV and AIDS has come a really long way since then, but there’s still so much work to be done. As a queer woman, the likelihood that I would contract HIV is so low but, as an ally to the other people in my community, it’s still my battle to fight. The queer community sticks together and takes care of one another. I think of the queer women who took care of the men dying in Ward 86 during the height of the epidemic and I use them as inspiration for everything I do.
I’ve done a lot of things in the fight against HIV…
- I’m a CA certified HIV test counselor, which means that I’ve counseled male-identified people who have sex with men about their sex lives and delivered their rapid HIV-test results to them.
- It also means I’ve swabbed their butts and throats for STIs. (so glamorous, I know!)
- I’ve managed a 125-person volunteer program for Magnet/Strut, a gorgeous health and wellness center for men in the Castro.
- I’ve worked in Development at the LA LGBT Center, trying to make sure we are always able to fund the life-saving programs the Center offers.
- And I’ve staffed AIDS/Lifecycle two years in a row! Working 20 hour days for 2 weeks straight to make sure the event goes off without a hitch for thousands of participants!
… But I’ve never ridden the Ride. Which is why this year I am registered as a Cyclist! As someone who has worked for both agencies, I know how important the donations to ALC are for us to continue to provide life-saving services to our clients. If I can swab butts and ride 545 MILES on a bike, can you find it deep within your heart to make a donation?
It’s no mistake that I’ve spent a lot of my time and energy in the fight against HIV. I’m passionate about getting to ZERO new HIV transmissions and making sure everyone who is positive has access to the life-saving treatments they need! We are going to end this epidemic. Please donate today and help us make HIV/AIDS a thing of the past!