July 12, 2010
Black communities don't pay enough attention to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. My experience at the national convention is driving and motivating me to advocate and fight against HIV/AIDS even more. The workshops at the convention are extremely important and informative. They reach out and talk to people in ways that we can understand. The youth and college health workshop was one of my best experiences so far. During that workshop I was introduced to HIV/AIDS activists Marvelyn Brown and Tavon Vinson. Marvelyn shared her story as a young Black woman living with HIV and for the first time on a national stage, Tavon shared his story as a young black man living with HIV. The message that resonated with both speakers was that even though they were HIV positive they aren't giving up on life; instead they are sharing their stories to help save lives. I was able to interview Tavon Vinson about his experience after the workshop. Although he said he was nervous, he didn't show it. I thought it took a lot of courage to do what he did. Their stories touched everyone.
Along with the guest speakers, the NAACP is also providing free HIV Testing. Our friends from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation have successfully tested 109 people on the first day of the convention and will continue HIV/AIDS testing everyday of the convention. As an intern with the Black AIDS Institute, I want to say I am truly and forever grateful for this experience. I am a leader in the fight to eradicate HIV/AIDS. Thank you for your attention.