The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App 
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol
HIV/AIDS Resource Center for African Americans
Kai Chandler Lois Crenshaw Gary Paul Wright Fortunata Kasege Keith Green Lois Bates Greg Braxton Vanessa Austin Bernard Jackson

Who or What Got You Involved in HIV/AIDS Activism in the Black Community?

A Part of Our "Word on the Street" Series

February 25, 2014


Shirley Torho

Shirley Torho

Project Manager, Select Media Inc., and Community Co-Chair Elect, New York City HIV Prevention Planning Group

My journey in HIV/AIDS advocacy has evolved as I have come to better understand the social determinants of health and how structural policies impact transmission, infection and prevalence rates.

I began this work at age 17/18 as a vaccine research intern, a bit detached from the humanistic aspect of the epidemic. Until I actually had the opportunity to interact with women of color, very much like myself, in the community, about their behaviors, their choices and the circumstances that led up to their diagnoses, I didn't really comprehend the magnanimity of the cause for which we were fighting.

Almost a decade later, there is more intentionality in my work, and I am committed not only to stopping new infections and ensuring that those who are infected continue to live thriving, fruitful lives, but also to address the inequities and disproportionate access to resources that facilitate the epidemic.

I suit up daily with pride, an opened heart and mind, a fierce dedication to human life, and am moved by the millions of interconnected lives that fight this war collectively.

Related Stories

13 Moments in Black Celebrity HIV/AIDS Activism
What Really Fuels the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Black America?
Where Is All the Outrage About HIV Among Youth?
More News on HIV Activism

This article was provided by

No comments have been made.

Add Your Comment:
(Please note: Your name and comment will be public, and may even show up in
Internet search results. Be careful when providing personal information! Before
adding your comment, please read's Comment Policy.)

Your Name:

Your Location:

(ex: San Francisco, CA)

Your Comment:

Characters remaining:


The content on this page is free of advertiser influence and was produced by our editorial team. See our advertising policy.