To Feign Ignorance: A Coping Tactic

With the Being Visible Report now released, I have been rehashing all the stories we heard over the past two years. As a team, we travelled across seven states, driving through back roads and cities, speaking with everyday people in the community – tienda owners in small-town Louisiana, farm workers in rural South Carolina, and Hispanic journalists in Alabama. We also met with people who have dedicated their lives to helping others access healthcare and live dignified lives, working in clinics, AIDS service organizations, health departments, churches and civic organizations. Looking back on all this time spent travelling around the South hearing about the health challenges and triumphs in local communities, there is one quote I really cannot get out of my head….

But first, a little back-story: In the past few months, I have been living outside the US – in Thailand. Here, busses with wooden flooring barely stop for you to jump on or off, there are five tones in the language (where “ma” has five different meanings, for each of the five tones), and it takes a month to figure out how to get Internet to your apartment. It’s exciting and exhausting at the same time. Every day is an eternity, in a good way. Continue reading

Behind the Scene: My Experience at the Commission

Since the beginning of August, I have been interning at the Latino Commission on AIDS. When I first started working at this organization, I did not know what to expect. It was my first time working in an office setting and I was unsure of how the overall experience would be. I have learned a lot from this experience. For example, I learned how to input data using the statistical analysis software, SPSS. Using this program will help me in the long run because a lot of organizations and companies probably use the program for their data. I also learned that there is a oral test that is quick and simple to find out if a person is HIV positive or not.

In this experience I have worked with many people who have taught me a wide range of skills. The tasks I completed included inputting data, scanning newspaper articles and emailing the articles to myself, organizing files and stamping paperwork. While looking through newspaper articles I learned that a patient known as the Berlin Patient was functionally cured of HIV while receiving a stem cell transplant in 2008. I found this one of the most interesting things I have learned while working for the Commission, because it allows me to have hope that people who are living with AIDS will be cured some time in the future.

Overall my experience at the Commission has been amazing. The workers here are all very friendly and hard-working. They have made my time at the Commission fun and interesting. I am glad I took this internship and was able to do something productive with my summer.

Written by Tiara Vega

A haiku for the end of AIDS

In honor of our upcoming Congressional briefing to commemorate National Latino AIDS Awareness Day, here is a haiku (or really a tanka) to visualize that end of AIDS.
A world without AIDS
Hopeful we are for that day
Can not rest , just yet
Activism and science, both
Interconnected they are
Miriam Y. Vega, PhD

 

Photo Credit: Rod Spark

Where are we today? IAC 2014 theme of the day.

The 20th international AIDS conference is underway in Melbourne, Australia.  Once again global leaders, researchers, scientists, health care professionals, and advocates gather together to discuss the latest affairs in the HIV/AIDS global climate. Perspectives will be shared depicting where we are today in the continued siege of HIV/AIDS hoping that one day soon the personified virus will waive its white flag and resist no more. Excitedly waiting for reports back from the conference, I did a quick Google search for “HIV blogs” and found an endless laundry list of posts capturing different social and cultural facets of public health concerns. Continue reading

It is 2014: Don’t act like it is 2005 if we are to reach a world without AIDS

Throughout the first full day of the International AIDS Conference, there was a recurring theme. Well, rather there was an unofficial recurring theme not listed in the books. That theme essentially boiled down to: It is 2014: Don’t act like it is 2005 if we are to reach a world without AIDS.

In the last few years there has been an exponential growth in the number of prevention science results. We went from a scarcity of knowledge regarding what works in terms of prevention to an almost-gluttony of scientific results that has led to a fully packed prevention toolbox.  Yet, there are still 6,000 new HIV infections each day. The top ten countries account for 61% of the new infections. The top ten countries are as follows:  South Africa, Nigeria, India, Kenya, Mozambique, Uganda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, USA and Zambia. Continue reading