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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

 5/7 

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.




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