Floyd is the executive director of Iris House, a position she has held since 2006 (though she began working at the organization in 2005 as its deputy director). She is not living with HIV.
Tim Murphy: What's changed the most in your 14 years at Iris House?
Ingrid Floyd: Women today are more open about their status and willing to disclose. A lot of our women are virally suppressed, which is a huge accomplishment. And we have a really good linkage-to-care rate.
TM: I detect a Southern accent.
IF: Yes, I'm from South Carolina. We actually have a group of six women from my hometown of Orangeburg here today. There aren't a lot of services down there.
TM: How would you describe Iris House?
IF: We're a comprehensive support agency for women and men living with HIV in New York and New Jersey. We try to make sure that people who are disenfranchised and underserved are connected to much-needed care.
TM: Tell us a little bit about the founder, Iris De La Cruz?
IF: Iris was one of the first female advocates around HIV in the city at a time when services were mostly focused on gay white men. She saw there was an unmet need for women like herself who were living with HIV, so she started support groups in her home.
TM: What is still the biggest nut to crack when it comes to ending the HIV epidemic among women, especially women of color who are most affected?
IF: It's what we heard today from Dr. Fullilove about the deeper inequities [that drive the epidemic]. How do you address the social determinants of health, housing, access to child care, mental health services, culturally and gender-specific behavioral health services?
TM: Any recent story of hope to share?
IF: We have a client who would never talk to her family about having HIV, but in the past week, she had one of our health educators go home with her to disclose her status to her daughter and son. She was here at the summit today.
TM: That's beautiful. And what's a source of joy to you?
IF: Coming every day to a job where I get to help people. Before, I was in corporate and I would always say, "We're not solving world hunger or peace." But here at Iris House, we're actually solving someone's housing or food issues. The thank you's that we get make all the hours we put in worth it.