I remember being teased for being gay when I was only in the 3rd grade. The words thrown at me from other kids telling me that the only future I had in front of me was one in which I contracted HIV, died of AIDS, and burned in hell for all eternity. That was nearly 30 years ago, and even today with better science, education, treatment, and prevention methods — we are all still combating those ignorant messages.
The shame, stigma, and fear that many still associate with HIV/AIDS all too often prevent people from knowing their status and accessing competent, treatment, care, and prevention tools. Our partners over at the San Diego LGBT Community Center work every day to combat these challenges in an effort to better serve our community through critical, direct services and their transformative #BeTheGeneration educational campaign.
You too can be a part of these efforts by participating in the largest fundraiser for HIV/AIDS- related work in the region: AIDS Walk San Diego. Our Pride volunteers will be out in force again this year helping our Center Family put on the event in addition to having a walking team. We’ll also be participating in this year’s “This Is Me” campaign that invites everyone to share pieces of our personal identity and connection to HIV to highlight that while HIV/AIDS impacts all of us, we are not solely defined by it.
I hope you will join our Pride Family in supporting these efforts by joining our team walk here, and by taking part in the “This Is Me” campaign. We can end stigma and be the generation that ends new infections, as together we Persist with Pride.