May 20, 2005
A recent presentation at the Statesville Skills Center featured speakers brought in to educate teens about HIV/AIDS. A Charlotte woman, who used only the first name Devin, said she contracted HIV from her first sexual experience at age 13. She talked about how the disease has altered the course of her life, and she showed students a tote containing the more than 25 medicines she takes to stay alive. "Would you rather have the one condom, or take all these pills?" she asked.
Ollie Reid, an HIV-positive case management counselor, told the group that since last July, when he started working at Fifth Street Shelter Ministries' Open Door Clinic in Statesville, its number of patients has risen from 14 or 15 to 31.
The nonprofit Teen Health Inc. and its Latino Outreach Program sponsored Devin's appearance with part of a $15,000 challenge grant from the Regional HIV/AIDS consortium. The grant's goal is to bring prevention programs to Iredell County adolescents.
Devin and Reid are affiliated with the Jemsek Project, a Huntersville-based nonprofit that educates groups at risk of HIV. For more information about booking speakers from Teen Health Inc., telephone 704-872-1023.