Posts Tagged ‘USCA’

Adrian and Thomas share their thoughts on USCA 2015! Can’t wait for next year!


The 2014 U.S. Conference on AIDS (USCA) Exit Disclaimer earlier this month was the largest HIV/AIDS-related gathering in the nation. During the conference, the team provided daily social media coverage Exit Disclaimer, policy updates, and technical assistance to conference participants in our social media lab.

Today, we bring you personal perspectives of the conference from Guy Anthony, Kahlib Barton, and Patrick Ingram: three bloggers from’s Black Voices Blog, a bimonthly blog series written by black, gay millennials affected by HIV/AIDS. Each is a community leader is his own right, and all of them are sharing their experiences of living with HIV by using new media to amplify their voices and touch the lives of those like them.

Guy Anthony


…we are moving in the right direction if we continue to advocate positioning ourselves at the table when it comes to issues that directly infect and affect us.”

For a USCA first-timer like me, being amongst so many passionate people, both infected and affected, was an indescribable feeling that I’ll never forget. USCA left me reeling with excitement to return to DC to “do the work.”I was incredibly inspired to hold everyone, including myself, accountable in the fight to eradicate this disease. Not just people providing direct services to clients, but agencies as a whole, executive directors, and policy-makers.

One of my favorite moments was the workshop titled “Black Gay Men: Where Are We Now? Where Do We Need to Be?” The references to black gay revolutionaries like Audre Lorde Exit Disclaimer, Essex Hemphill Exit Disclaimer, Marlon Riggs Exit Disclaimer were inspiring. I think, as a community, we are moving in the right direction if we continue to position ourselves at the table when it comes to issues that directly affect us. And what exactly does being represented at the “table” look like? A great example is Douglas Brooks, the Director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy; President Obama appointed him to that position earlier this year. Brooks is an HIV/AIDS activist, and a gay black man who is living with HIV. He leads the Administration’s work to reduce new HIV infections, improve health outcomes for people living with HIV, and eliminate HIV health disparities in the United States.

Overall, USCA 2014 was everything I thought it’d be. The dialogue at USCA was sincere and shared a common theme that black gay men need to start taking care of themselves, for themselves.

Kahlib Barton


I became inspired to advocate for those who are unable to do so for themselves, because so many people advocated for me when I didn’t think I could.”

USCA Exit Disclaimer, NMAC Exit Disclaimer, PrEP, PEP. Alphabet soup anyone? All of these acronyms were foreign to me about a month ago. But now I not only know what they mean, but I am inspired to learn more about HIV and how I can make a difference. Because of NMAC’s Youth Scholar program Exit Disclaimer, I was able to attend USCA for the first time this year, and it has changed my life.

Hearing personal experiences of others living with HIV, and meeting all the NMAC Youth Scholars with so many inspiring backgrounds, were my highlight moments of USCA. Meeting these inspiring individuals who were willing to help me navigate this unfamiliar world helped me to take advantage of this opportunity.

One story that particularly resonated with me was Lawrence Stallworth; he is young, the same age as I am, and has been living with the virus for as long as I have. But until I met him, the difference between us was that he did not allow his status to define him. Lawrence has already traveled across the country speaking about HIV awareness, and now serves on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.

At USCA, I became inspired to advocate for those who are unable to advocate for themselves, because so many of the people I met advocated for me when I didn’t think I could. Before USCA I was a shy, angst-ridden, 23-year-old man living with HIV. But I turned my shyness into sufficiency and my angst into assurance. Now I feel that I am empowered and ready to make a difference in my own community. I have now joined multiple councils and organizations to be sure that my voice is heard. Most important, I use my voice as my tool to combat stigma and raise awareness for all those suffering with, or because of, this disease.

Patrick Ingram

Patrick Ingram“As I continue to grow, I realize the impact of change that takes place when I speak up…”

I was thrilled to return to USCA this year as a member of both the NMAC Youth Scholars and the USCA Steering Committee. For me, USCA is a great opportunity to meet like-minded people who are dedicated to addressing HIV.

One highlight from my time at USCA was having the opportunity to visit the University of California at San Diego’s Center for AIDS Research (CEFAR) Exit Disclaimer with my fellow NMAC Youth Scholars. I was able to learn more about the amazing work being done in the field of HIV medications and vaccines research. Visiting CEFAR has encouraged me to continue to advocate for young, gay men of color to have access to biomedical research opportunities.

As I continue to grow, I realize the impact of change that takes place when I speak up and set my mind to the task at hand. USCA has shown me that sharing my experiences and using my voice are important, and I continue to do so on my personal blog and in my work at the Virginia Department of Health. USCA 2015 will be held in Washington DC, and I am interested in how government agencies and organizations that serve those affected by HIV will employ, listen, give opportunities to lead, and implement the ideas/strategies of youth.

Did you go to USCA 2014? Share your experience in the comments below. Read more from our Black Voices bloggers here.

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 The Poz+ Life is proud to have Patrick, Thomas, friends, cohorts, and most importantly friends selected to attend the 2014 United States Conference on AIDS (USCA) in San Diego, California.  Thomas and Patrick will be providing live social media conversations , blogging and videos during and after the conference.  
HIV disproportionately impacts America’s young people, especially young gay and bisexual men of color. Approximately 25% of all new infections occur in youth and between 2007 and 2010, there was a 22% increase among gay men aged 13–24. NMAC’s Youth initiative, sponsored by ViiV Healthcare, the Magic Johnson Foundation and Advocates for Youth aims to assist youth in becoming more effective and informed health advocates, and empowering them to become more active in their communities.Hundreds of applicants between the ages of 18 – 25 applied to participate in our 2014 program, including the opportunity to further their leadership in the field of HIV/AIDS as well as attend the 2014 United States Conference on AIDS in San Diego, CA, from Oct. 2 – 5.

Participants will take part in various events throughout 2014, from webinars to conference calls, to help further develop their skills and knowledge and prepare them to lead efforts to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in their communities and across the country. NMAC is thrilled hat it can continue to offer this exciting initiative and to introduce you to the selected participants. For more than 25 years, NMAC has worked to develop leadership in communities of color to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic and is proud to have the opportunity to help develop the skills of a new generation of leaders

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The National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) is very pleased to announce it has selected the Youth Scholars for NMAC’s Youth Initiative to End HIV in America. The eight-month Youth Initiative program is sponsored by NMAC in collaboration with ViiV HealthcareAdvocates for Youth, and the Magic Johnson Foundation and will provide opportunities for the scholars to develop leadership skills, increase knowledge, build confidence, and integrate youth in HIV/AIDS programs and policies.

Learn more about our scholars online here!

NMAC received and reviewed hundreds of applications through a competitive selection process. A Youth Advisory Committee worked with our Treatment Education Adherence Mobilization (TEAM) and Conferences & Meeting Services (CMS) divisions to select the 2014 recipients. We are incredibly proud to have a diverse, talented, and dynamic group of young leaders to participate in the Initiative.

With its focus on developing leadership among youth to end HIV in America, the skills the youth leaders will develop during the U.S. Conference on AIDS (USCA) will help drive the next generation of leaders in HIV. Through education and training, these individuals will develop the necessary tools to have a significant impact on the current and future landscape of HIV. Following the conference, the scholars will have the opportunity to share their skills with individuals in their own communities and through best practices, continue active participation in the HIV movement.

If you would like to learn more about the incredible group of Youth Scholars, you can view their pictures and bios on our website at:


As a student who is majoring in Sociocultural Anthropology, I can attest that I have read many ethnographic studies and sat through numerous lectures that support the argument that human cooperation fuels productivity and community development.  When people work together to establish a community, a majority of the time positive outcomes are achieved and goals are met.

We see more and more developing communities out there to promote positive behavior change in efforts to increase HIV prevention.  Can it work and is it working?  Let’s take a look.


“It takes a village…” is a long old saying that you probably hear from your grandparents and parents today.  And yes, although it may be cliché to say, it is totally true!  Community-based organizations (CBOs) are in place for peoples to come together to achieve a common goal.  Let’s take a look at the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC).  NMAC is one of the largest non-profit HIV/AIDS advocacy groups that is dedicated towards helping minority groups gain access to HIV treatment and prevent HIV to those who are uninfected by increasing access to testing.  Let’s look at one of their programs in particular: The Youth Initiative to End HIV/AIDS in America Scholars Program.  This program hosts about 30 youth scholars per year to attend the U.S. States Conference on AIDS to increase their personal awareness about the pandemic and learn how to combat the pandemic in their own community with tools learned at the conference.   At the end of the conference, the scholars are expected to report back to NMAC every several weeks about their progress to help “End HIV/AIDS in America.”  This program is near and dear to my heart, as for I was selected as a 2013 Youth Scholar.  I am in constant contact with my fellow scholars as for we brainstorm new ideas and share networking opportunities to get involved with community-based organizations to ultimately help end the pandemic.  NMAC has created a community for us, which gives us the opportunities, and networks needed to create positive behavior change and increase HIV prevention.


Left to Right: Victor Yang and myself at the U.S. Conference on AIDS in New Orleans, LA, September 2013

Our lab has conducted a study, called the Harnessing Online Peer Education (HOPE) study, in Peru last year to increase HIV prevention.  What is significant about the study is our creation of “peer leaders.”  These peer leaders were used to educate on HIV prevention and mentor the participants—who were also African American and/or Latino MSM.  Peer leaders had experience with community and social media outreach.  Peer leaders were trained on discussion and role playing exercises to integrate basic knowledge of HIV/AIDS, awareness of sociocultural HIV/AIDS issues in the age of technology, and communication methods for effective, interactive social media-based HIV prevention.

But mind you, there was no established social hierarchy.  That’s why we had the same population, just different responsibilities of each subpopulation (participants and peer leaders).  In this way, we created a community for MSM to promote healthy sexual behaviors amongst one another.

On the flip side, when we think of a community, is there always a positive connotation linked to it?  Not necessarily.  For example, what if a young fresh-out-the-closet young gay man from the Midwest (where the homosexual community isn’t the most prevalent) came to an urban center (L.A., New York, Atlanta, etc.) and joined the community of young gay men there.  We need to realize that the gay community in big urban centers has a high prevalence rate of substance abuse and HIV.  So in this case, would him joining the community be a positive thing?  No.  He would be very likely to try to fit in with the community and therefore be exposed to these negative behaviors.  How can we create more positive communities for the LGBTQ population?

What are your thoughts on community building and HIV prevention?  What does your CBO do to build communities?  Let us know by tweeting us @DigitalHBX or sending us a Facebook message at

Derek Hernandez is an undergraduate at the University of California, Los Angeles, with a major in Sociocultural Anthropology.  He is a Research Assistant at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine where he studies the behavioral aspects of HIV-positive men and researches new implementations of HIV prophylaxis via social media.  Derek is passionate about the dynamics of LGBTQ Healthcare and ensuring accessibility and retention of care for patients, especially HIV/AIDS patients.  He is notably proud for holding two Student Intern positions at UCLA Health System and currently at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where he works alongside physicians and nurses to ensure patient safety and adherence to quality measures.  Derek plans to ultimately earn his Doctorate in Nursing Practice Degree and purse a career an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner.

Interested in guest blogging for  Send me an email at

So this summer is as busy as ever with my work (both paid and not). I have been doing outreach to educate people on HIV, testing and counseling, creating new blog material, completing filming for an upcoming project, being involved with the fantastic Edugaytion show, wrapping up my Associates Degree, starting classes for my undergrad degree in Public Health, and raising money and training for the Grassroots Project running the Full Marine Corps Marathon.

For the first time ever I will be attending The United States Conference on AIDS, which will be taking place in New Orleans, Louisiana. I will be going as a youth scholar for this phenomenal experience. I am extremely blessed and appreciative of the opportunity The National Minority AIDS Council and its staff have given me. During this event I look forward to networking, learning, sharing experiences, and gaining more knowledge about HIV/AIDS that can be taken back to my community. Looking back two years ago I would have never thought to be leaving a very good paying job and lifestyle to be doing what I love, which is doing work in a community that needs help, education on the epidemic of HIV, and overall support.


On September 7th fresh off a 5k, I will board a plane and fly out of the DC area and head toward the conference to represent my community, youth, people of color, people living with HIV, and most importantly *you*. It is very excited to have opportunities ranging from a workshop on sexual health education as HIV prevention; a panel discussion I will be moderating on using storytelling using media and cultural arts; a workshop on strategizing and mobilizing to end the epidemic; a session on PrEP; and a round table assembly for people living with HIV.

  While I am in New Orleans the plan is to keep you up-to-date on everything. Please keep up with me by following me on Instagram and Twitter as PluslifeofPatrick and The Pozlifeofpatrick Facebook page. These will be the sources I will be sending updates, thoughts, and experiences of  USCA.

  If you will also be at the U.S. Conference on AIDS please speak to me because I would love to interact with you all. Interested in USCA? Check out