How has HIV affected my life and what motivated me to become an advocate?
In 1986, while in college in San Juan, Puerto Rico, I tested HIV +. I had to figure it out all by myself for the first two years. A friend of mine who was a psychologist provided emotional support. In 1988 I moved to New York City to assist to graduate school and there looked for medical care at the Community Health Project todays knowns as the Callen-Lord clinic. One day I met a member of ACT UP NY at the gym and he invited me to an ACT UP meeting. I went and was very moved an energized by my contemporaries and their commitment to fight back and fight AIDS. I was sold and joined the Treatment & Data Committee. Since I have been involved and committed to treatment advocacy and education.
What would an HIV cure mean to me and my community?
A cure for HIV would mean freedom and a testament to my own resiliency and humanity. For my community it will also mean freedom but most probably a new challenge to have access to it. Health disparities must be dealt with if we want a cure for all.
What scientific and community engagement work excites me most about the DARE Collaboratory?
Functional cure and community education.