NMAC 2023: A Year in Review

As 2023 draws to a close, NMAC’s staff reflects on the impactful moments that made this year one to remember:

The Coalition for Justice and Equality Across Movements

The Coalition members in a picture togetherNMAC’s Coalition for Justice and Equality Across Movements is a finalist in the Non-Profit Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in Team & Leadership category in The Anthem Community Voice Awards. This award is a testament to the dedication and hard work of NMAC staff to make the first annual Coalition meeting in Marina Del Rey, California a success. The award also reflects NMAC’s and the Coalition’s commitment to working with leaders across diverse movements to ensure that our health, safety, and constitutional rights are not under attack. We look forward to working with our Coalition partners to continue for fighting for health equality for all as we enter a crucial Presidential election year in 2024.

Winners for the 3rd Annual Anthem Awards will be announced on Tuesday, January 30th, 2024. You can vote for the Coalition online up until Thursday, December 21, 2023 by clicking here.

The Training Center to End the HIV Epidemic in America

The Training Center to End the HIV Epidemic in America, or “The Center,” remains dedicated to cultivating leaders who are well-positioned to assume the responsibility of putting an end to the HIV/AIDS crisis.

The ESCALATE program expanded our impact by conducting in-person training sessions in cities such as Memphis, TN, San Antonio, TX, and Charlotte, NC. Meanwhile, ELEVATE paved the way for digital equity through a series of HIV/AIDS advocacy webinars, offering virtual training opportunities for both English and Spanish-speaking audiences. As registration numbers continue to climb for our upcoming January trainings – ESCALATE’s in Philadelphia, PA, and ELEVATE’s in Atlanta, GA – we are eagerly anticipating a productive and leader-driven 2024. The momentum is building, and we’re excited to make a meaningful impact in the new year.

Conferences Division

The Conferences division is proud to have carried out the theme, “A Love Letter to Black Women”, through our conferences: the Biomedical HIV Prevention Summit, and the US Conference on HIV/AIDS (USCHA).  The Summit featured a plenary session titled “Taking Control Over Our Bodies: Black Women, Sex, Violence, and HIV.” The event brought together a packed audience exclusive to Black women from various backgrounds.  The 2023 USCHA prioritized Black women as its focus population. This was reflected in an increased selection of workshops, scholarships, networking opportunities and cultural activities throughout the conference program. All four plenary sessions of USCHA focused on the issues of Black women. We are grateful to our partners and committee members who worked to create a meaningful experience at both events.

Treatment Division (REACH/PACT)

50 + hiv logoThe advocacy efforts of the HIV 50+/FAPP Aging WG initiating conversation with HOPWA’s Director, Rita Harcrow, and CMS’s Dr. Shari Ling, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and Medical Officer in the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality (CCSQ), on what these agencies are doing to respond to the specific housing and Medicare/Medicaid needs of older adults living with HIV.
The Gay Men of Color (GMoC) Fellowship successfully supported the leadership development of its 20 members, ensuring that those disproportionately affected by HIV take the lead in the movement. They were offered a series of skill-building workshops aimed at strengthening their advocacy capabilities, and a mentorship program connecting them with experienced advocates, facilitating the expansion of their work. Fellows also played an active role in shaping events such as the Summit and USCHA, in addition to initiating their own projects with the support of our mini-grants.
Looking ahead to 2024, NMAC remains committed to reducing the disparities towards gay men of color by building a stronger fieldforce by expanding the program’s reach.

Development Division

NMAC’s Development Division has strengthened in 2023! This year, our success was centered around NMAC’s annual events including BHPS, USCHA and the Hill Champions Reception. With record-breaking funds raised and attendance, we have set a high bar moving forward.
At NMAC, our partnerships will always remain a priority and the development team works to build and grow the relationships that we have with all of our supporters. Thank you for your support, sponsorship and contributions to our organization!
As of December 2023, NMAC’s Development Division is fully staffed to include three positions that will partner effectively to execute strategy and the necessary tasks to both maintain and increase revenue for NMAC moving forward.

Strategic Partnerships & Policy

In a challenging year marked by proposed cuts to HIV/AIDS funding, NMAC actively opposed reductions and, alongside Coalition partners, urged Congress to increase funding. Successful advocacy prevented the elimination of crucial HIV programs despite federal threats. NMAC also led initiatives to enhance the Older Americans Act for seniors with HIV, despite resistance in the House. While our language wasn’t included, we persist in urging Congress to do more for those 50+ and living with HIV.







Building on the theme from USCHA, NMAC hosted its largest-ever Hill Champions event, celebrating and honoring the outstanding women of the Congressional Black Caucus. On World AIDS Day, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health selected NMAC to present on the 25th anniversary of the Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI) as part of their HOPE Challenge.  NMAC is committed to restoring MAI funds to their original intent of supporting minority-led organizations. In 2024, our focus shifts to the elections, emphasizing health equity, anti-discrimination efforts, and HIV-related issues. Stay tuned for updates on our legislative agenda.

NMAC got a lot done this year, and we couldn’t have done it without you- the #NMACCommunity! Thank you for all you do, and we look forward to sharing this community with you in 2024.

NMAC’s Coalition For Justice & Equality Across Movements Named Finalist in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion for Third Annual Anthem Awards


NMAC’s Coalition For Justice & Equality Across Movements Named Finalist in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion for Third Annual Anthem Awards

Washington, DC — December 5, 2023 – Toni Newman, Director of NMAC’s Coalition for Justice & Equality Across Movements (“The Coalition”), announced today that The Coalition has been named a Finalist in Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion in The 3rd Annual Anthem Awards.

Anthem Winners are selected by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. Members include: Nicholas Thompson, CEO, The Atlantic, Christina Swarns, Executive Director, Innocence Project, Zarna Surti, Global Creative Director, Nike Purpose, Maurice Mitchell, National Director, Working Families Party, Lindsay Stein, Chief Purpose Office, Tombras, Jennifer Lotito, President & Chief Operating Officer, (RED), Lisa Sherman, President & CEO, The Ad Council, Emily Barfoot, Global Brand Director Dove, Unilever, Trovon Williams, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications, NAACP, Roma McCaig, Senior VP of Impact, Clif Bar, Michelle Egan, Chief Strategy Officer, NRDC, Dinah-Kareen Jean, Senior Manager, Social Innovation, Etsy, Sarah Kate Ellis, President & CEO, GLAAD, Jad Finck, Vice President of Innovation & Sustainability, Allbirds, Christopher Miller, Head of Global Activism Strategy, Ben & Jerry’s, Shayla Tait, Director of Philanthropy The Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation.

The Coalition for Justice and Equality Across Movements unites national movement leaders to strategically counter growing vitriol against vulnerable and marginalized communities. The Coalition envisions an America where all communities have their rights protected at all levels of government and the law, and where public policies and resources promote their health, well-being, and safety. The official first Coalition meeting took place with great success in October 2023, where members set an organizational agenda around their shared goal of achieving “Health Equity For All”.

“NMAC’s Coalition for Justice and Equality Across Movements is fighting for Health Equity for All Regardless of Race, Sex, and Gender,” said Newman. “Every American deserves quality healthcare. We are honored to be a finalist and will continue the fight for Equity.”

“Since launching the Anthem Awards launch in 2021, we’ve seen incredible change and growth in the impact sector,” said Anthem Awards General Manager, Patricia McLoughlin. “The work that we have received in the 3rd Annual Anthem Anthem Awards is game-changing. From innovative projects fighting climate change to impactful calls for equal rights across the globe and best-in-class CSR and ESG efforts- the Anthem Community is a bright light in our uncertain world.”

Winners for the 3rd Annual Anthem Awards will be announced on Tuesday, January 30th, 2024. Finalists can be celebrated online from December 5th to December 21st at Celebrate.Anthemawards.com.

The Anthem Awards was launched in response to the prevalence social good has taken within the national conversation and cultural zeitgeist in recent years. The 3rd Annual competition received over 2,000 entries from more than 30 countries worldwide. By amplifying the voices that spark global change, the Anthem Awards are defining a new benchmark for impactful work that inspires others to take action in their communities. A portion of program revenue is allocated to our grant program, The Anthem Fund.


Find The Anthem Awards Online:

Website: anthemawards.com

Facebook:  facebook.com/anthemawards


Instagram: @anthemawards

LinkedIn: The Anthem Awards

YouTube: wbby.co/anthem-youtube


About The Anthem Awards:

Launched in 2021 by The Webby Awards, The Anthem Awards honors the purpose & mission-driven work of people, companies and organizations worldwide. By amplifying the voices that spark global change, we’re defining a new benchmark for impactful work that inspires others to take action in their own communities. The Anthem Awards honors work across seven core causes: Diversity; Equity & Inclusion; Education; Art & Culture; Health; Human & Civil Rights; Humanitarian Action & Services; Responsible Technology; and Sustainability, Environment & Climate. Founded in partnership with the Ad Council, Born This Way Foundation, Feeding America, Glaad, Mozilla, NAACP, NRDC, WWF, and XQ.

About The Webby Awards:

Hailed as the “Internet’s highest honor” by The New York Times, The Webby Awards is the leading international awards organization honoring excellence on the Internet, including Websites; Video; Advertising, Media & PR; Apps, Mobile, and Voice; Social; Podcasts; and Games. Established in 1996, The Webby Awards received more than 13,500 entries from all 50 states and 70 countries worldwide this year. The Webby Awards are presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS). Sponsors and Partners of The Webby Awards include Verizon, WP Engine, YouGov, Brandlive, Canva, NAACP, KPMG,  Fast Company, Wall Street Journal, MediaPost, Podcast Movement, and AIGA.

About NMAC:

The Coalition for Justice & Equality Across Movements is a programmatic initiative by NMAC, formerly the National Minority AIDS Council. NMAC leads with race to urgently fight for health equity and racial
justice to end the HIV epidemic in America.

Inquiries welcomed at communications@nmac.org.

NMAC PACT Partners 

NMAC is proud to be a part of the CDC’s Partnering and Communicating Together (PACT) program, where we partner with community organizations to share important HIV prevention & treatment information with priority communities. As we wrap up Year 2 of the program, we want to take a moment to highlight our partners. Please read about these amazing organizations and consider following them on social media.  


Centro Ararat, founded in 2001, offers primary health services in its six clinics, located in Ponce, Juana Díaz, San Juan, and Arecibo. For the past two decades, Centro Ararat has offered comprehensive clinical care services in a friendly and welcoming environment. Their integrated health care model focuses on the knowledge and talent of their clinical services team, which includes medical and nursing staff, medical case managers, nutritionists, and psychologists. They have been sharing HIV treatment and prevention messaging to their communities throughout Puerto Rico, including through their Translucent clinic, which provides services specifically for TGNC clients. Learn more here 


affirming christian fellowship logo

Affirming Christian Fellowship (ACF) is an association of LGBT affirming evangelical ministries and individuals. ACF’s mission is focused on the LGBT community and its allies to provide a safe place for LGBT people to discover and rediscover Christianity and to give people from all different backgrounds an opportunity to be educated about homosexuality and Christianity. Each year, they hold an annual conference open to all that is designed for networking, fellowship, education and worship. ACF has been helping share information around PrEP and U=U with their constituents. Learn more here 


us aging logo

USAging is the national association representing and supporting the network of Area Agencies on Aging and advocating for the Title VI Native American Aging Programs. Their members help older adults and people with disabilities throughout the United States live with optimal health, well-being, independence and dignity in their homes and communities. USAging is dedicated to supporting the success of their members through advancing public policy, sparking innovation, strengthening the capacity of their members, raising their visibility and working to drive excellence in the fields of aging and home and community-based services. USAging has been sharing information around HIV awareness in the aging justice space. Learn more here 

noage (new orleans advocates for lgbtq+ elders) logo

NOAGE (New Orleans Advocates for LGBTQ+ Elders) provides services and advocacy for LGBTQ+ older adults in the New Orleans metro area. The unique challenges faced by LGBT older adults require a unique response. SAGE New Orleans hosts socialization/educational events for LGBT older adults, and works to increase the cultural competency of providers through trainings and workshops. As advocates on behalf of the LGBT older adult community, NOAGE is committed to ensuring that all LGBT older adults can live their best lives with the dignity, respect, and good health that they deserve. NOAGE is sharing information HIV testing, treatment, and prevention among their community members. Learn more here. 


migrant health center logo 

Migrant Health Center, (MHC, Inc.), provides high-quality and integrated health services at their clinics in Mayagüez, Guánica, Yauco, Isabela, Lajas, San Sebastián, Las Marías, Maricao, and its Special Projects division. Their services consist of family physicians, general practitioners, pediatricians, general internists, OB/Gyn, dentists, optometrist, mental health professionals, pharmacies, vaccinations and medical laboratories. MHC, Inc. also provides services for the prevention and treatment of HIV. They are helping share Spanish-language HIV prevention and treatment messaging to their clients in Puerto Rico. Learn more here 

 new voices for reproductive justice logo 

New Voices for Reproductive Justice is dedicated to transforming society for the holistic health and wellbeing of Black women, girls and gender-expansive people, nationally and in Pennsylvania and Ohio. They help dismantle patriarchal anti-Blackness using the tools of community organizing, leadership development, and voter engagement. Reproductive Justice, their guiding framework, is an innovative, radical, movement designed specifically to engage Black people marginalized by gender in local, national and global movement-building for Racial Justice, Gender Justice, and Environmental Justice. They are using their platform to share PrEP information specifically prioritizing Black women. Learn more here 


entre hermanos logo

Entre Hermanos came into being by the initiative of a group of LGBTQ+ Latinos/as who saw the need for social, educational, and health support services in their community in the spring of 1991. They are dedicated to promoting the health and well-being of the Latino LGBTQ+ community of Seattle in a culturally appropriate environment through disease prevention, education, support services, advocacy and community building. Entre Hermanos is sharing materials promoting CDC’s newest testing campaign, Together TakeMeHome (TTMH), a project with the goal of distributing up to 1 million free HIV self-tests over the next five years. Learn more about Entre Hermanos here 



qlatinx logo 

QLatinx is a grassroots racial, social, and gender justice organization dedicated to the advancement and empowerment of Central Florida’s LGBTQ+ Latinx community. QLatinx seeks to center and empower the most marginalized members of our community, establish affirming and supportive healing spaces, build a strong and united community, and work towards a society free of fear, violence, and hate. They have helped share information about PrEP, U=U, and anti-stigma efforts. Learn more about QLatinx here 


the legacy project logo

The Legacy Project works nationally to increase awareness of and build support for HIV prevention and treatment, clinical and behavioral research by addressing factors that influence participation of historically underrepresented communities. The Legacy Project achieves its core mission through ongoing and strategic engagement, collaboration, education, and scientific investigation. Learn more about the Legacy Project here. 

NMAC’s Coalition for Justice and Equality welcomes Capri Maddox, JD!

NMAC’s Coalition for Justice and Equality Across Movements is honored to welcome Capri Maddox, JD, as the guest speaker to the Annual Coalition dinner. 

Capri Maddox is the Executive Director of the Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department (LA Civil Rights), which enforces civil rights law in private sector commerce, education, employment, and housing, and works to address hate, inequity, and structural racism through community partnerships. Mrs. Maddox was appointed as the department’s founding Executive Director in 2020 by former Mayor Eric Garcetti and currently serves Mayor Karen Bass in this role.

Under Mrs. Maddox’s leadership, LA Civil Rights levels the playing field with the support of the LA City Council, and LA Civil Rights’ five commissions (the Commission on Civil Rights, the Commission on the Status of Women, the Human Relations Commission, the Transgender Advisory Council, and the Reparations Advisory Commission). Mrs. Maddox has a Bachelors of Science in Criminal Justice and a Masters of Science in Public Administration from California State University, Los Angeles. She received her Juris Doctorate from Pepperdine University’s Caruso School of Law. Capri resides in Los Angeles County with her husband and teenage son.

2023 USCHA 50+ Scholar Reflections

Group Picture of NMAC’s 50+ Strong and Healthy Program

NMAC’s 50+ Strong and Healthy Program trains older adults living with HIV and other Long-Term Survivors to become leaders in their communities. The program offers opportunities for 50+ Scholars to participate in peer health education activities, design and implement mini grant projects, and participate in social media advocacy campaigns. 50+ Scholars are also invited to apply to join the National HIV and Aging Advocacy Network (NHAAN) to work with other advocates to advance an HIV and aging policy agenda.

The 50+ Program launches each year at the US Conference on HIV/AIDS, where 50 HIV and aging advocates are awarded scholarships to attend the conference and learn the latest information regarding HIV and aging. The following are reflections from some of the 50+ Scholars who attended USCHA 2023 in Washington, D.C.


Hispanic man over 50 LWH at USCHA 2023Bernardo Gomez – Los Angeles, CA

When I was diagnosed with HIV, I was 24 years old, and I thought I was never going to live past my 50’s. Now, I just turned 50 and have been living with HIV for 26 years. I still can’t believe how time passes so fast. In those 26 years, I learned how to maintain my health and change HIV treatment when it was needed due to side effects or intolerance.  When I had the opportunity to meet other people also living with HIV, and who can understand your barriers, you feel you are in heaven.   Other people have less opportunities accessing HIV services due to funding in their area. After attending USCHA 2023, I made a promise myself to keep taking care of myself, attend my doctor’s appointment and be aware of any health issues I may have in the future due to my HIV and aging.


Bill Hall – Seattle, WA

I always enjoy the stories I hear both at the Breakout Sessions and socially. They show our resilience so clearly, and that the hard times only gave us resolve to work and make our lives, and our communities lives, better as advocates for those who are HIV+ or living with AIDS.  This conference never fails to give me hope, and it re-energizes me to continue my work as an Advocate for the Native American Community here in Seattle.


Brenda Chambers – St. Helens, Oregon

One of the things that stood out for me most is I did not know that there was a cure in sight, and what are we going to do with all our health care problems that HIV has caused us after the cure. Also, in the session with older Americans and HIV where we were able to just talk about the problems that we see, I was heartened by the fact that we were able to speak freely. I heard about the problems that we’re facing in our state and everywhere in the country. And that there is no end in sight of this.

One other thing that stood out for me was that our partners in health care at the federal level really are listening to us especially our federal HIV/AIDS advisor.



Cecilia Ligons – Houston, TX

USCHA 2023 really rejuvenated my spirit to speak up and speak out. I am a person who has been living with HIV for 32 years and advocating on behalf of the HIV community since 2006, locally, regionally, and nationally. I have empowered/mentored so many people who have become well-known leaders in the field of HIV. I started to feel as if I had done my part and could now fade into the background and let the new boots take the reign.

USCHA 2023 has ignited a fire within me. I recall one of my most impactful workshops was “The HIV Possible” Centering Faith Based Resources and Direct Service WOC.” I honestly tried my best to sit silently and just listen. It didn’t take that long before my hand flew up and my mouth began to speak. I then began to realize that I can’t just sit on the side lines and do nothing. My life matters, my thoughts matter and deserve to be heard. There is still so much work to do in the field of advocating for people living with HIV. The struggle is real, and stigma is still strong as ever. The USCHA 2023 have taught me new ways to address some issues and still embrace many of the old school way of doing some things.

The networking opportunities at the USCHA 2023 were massive. I had about five to seven bags of information. I received so many contacts and business cards from all over the state regarding the work being accomplished in the HIV field. I passed out so many business cards myself. It has been two weeks since the conference and I am still sorting out emails, information, and business cards. I especially enjoyed the 50+ lounge. Although it was design to take a break from all the hustle and bustle of the workshops, I loved the way it was set up. The idea to have an organization to host the lounge every few hours was brilliant. I was able to relax and engage with others, which was fun and excited and created even more networking opportunities. Thank you again for this chance to attend such a grand and magnificent event. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of the 50+ cohort team. I especially want to thank you for reminding me that my voice is still needed at the table and my life matters.


Chuck Albrecht – Phoenix, AZ

As an HIV 50+ Scholar I appreciated the opportunity NMAC provided me to attend USCHA. My concerns regarding the lack of planning on a national level to address the needs and ever-growing HIV community in the 50+ community were confirmed. This has motivated me to become more active as an advocate to demand action from those in power.

On a more positive note, even while facing what seems to be insurmountable obstacles, the passion and commitment I witnessed on from Black women at the conference both enlightened me and gave me hope.


Clarence Ruff – Detroit, MI

The brother and sisterhood of fellowship with all the individuals present was inspiring and the warmth was overwhelming. All of this released the will to share and gain knowledge to bring back to our community viable and informative information concerning HIV and to eliminate stigma.

I hope to be a part of USCHA conference in 2024 to get the opportunity to help advance the knowledge concerning PLWH and those impacted. We are human beings who have a medical condition that allows us to live good and happy lives with our spouses, children, families, partners, and our community. We should not be exempt from being respected and to be treated with dignity as any other members of the human family.


 Two attendees at USCHA 2023Claude Bowen – Lithonia, GA

This year was particularly exciting as the role of Black women in this very long struggle was highlighted. Women have been in this struggle from the beginning and have often stood in the shadows of the men they support. To witness the acknowledgement and celebration of our sisters was an awesome spiritual event for me. Special because all along my journey as a long-time survivor of HIV, women have been my champions and cheering squad. They allowed me to cry, scream and even complain while holding me close and encouraging me to live as I healed. Every film clip, spoken word, song, photo and speech spoke to my being. My heart is filled with gratitude.

As a community advocate it is important and essential that I keep abreast of what is happening in the HIV Education and Prevention arena. Coming to USCHA is always an exciting time for gaining new information and enhancing the knowledge I already have. It also provides the opportunity to strengthen old bonds and the space to create new networks. The networking that takes place outside of the plenaries, institutes and seminars is where bonds are made, information is shared, and alliances are made. It was also very exciting to see the efforts of the older generation be recognized and their participation in the struggle as leaders, mentors, innovators, influencers, and advocates be encouraged.


Cynthia Rodgers – Birmingham, AL

I felt special and honored from the moment I read the acceptance letter for the scholarship. Upon my arrival to DC, I stood in an extremely long line to check into the hotel, and out of nowhere, Paul Kawata comes over and gives me the warmest hug and welcomes me as if I was a dignitary!  There were so many hugs and kisses in that long line, and it was absolutely beautiful.  Then there was the conference registration line. I was humbled by my less-than-optimal health.  There was so much I wanted to do and so many sessions I wanted to attend but my knees were aching, and I didn’t have the endurance to do as much as I wanted to do.  I am an incredible spirit housed in an aesthetically pleasing fine brown frame, and I am healthy with an undetectable viral load and a robust CD-4 count. I felt so celebrated and blessed just to be in the space with 4,000 amazing humans who share one thing in common – HIV.


Panel at USCHA 2023Franklin Sampley – Indianapolis, IN

I love being at USCHA.  I feel that being in that environment and surrounded by folks working in the field – be it education, client services, research, or a dozen other aspects – always inspires me to come home and to do more.  I find the time together even socially is energizing and so worth it.  This year I loved the plenaries – each one was different and so very good.  I thought the choir that sang was incredible.  Just knowing and hearing from people from such diverse backgrounds lets me know that folks still care and are still trying to make a difference for people living with HIV and to stop AIDS.  Being a part of the 50+ Cohort is so meaningful as it allows me to be around and meet several others whose stories are similar to mine.  People who have survived a long time and doing well and thriving.  I particularly love sitting together during the plenaries or spending time together in the lounge, as this is when you really get to know your cohorts and can share personal stories.  I hope this program is always a part of USCHA.

I love the workshops that address issues related to aging with HIV.  I think there are so many dynamics that these workshops really allow for us to learn new information and to find out things we should be aware of both personally and in dealing with others.  I in particular liked hearing from the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) as I found the work being done interesting.  As a retiree of federal service after many years as a Government Analyst for the Social Security Administration, I found it interesting that they were not represented and brought this up to the panel.  I would like to see the disability guidelines for Social Security modified to address many of the elements that are now known about people aging with HIV.  It seems that all these various factions, including CDC are recognizing the issue of advanced aging, etc., but it is not being addressed at a critical juncture and that is when a person reaches the point of needing to go on disability.  The guidelines are still based on science that in some areas is outdated.  I did speak with a couple of the panel members who said they appreciated the information and would be pursuing the involvement of SSA in the panel.  So, I will look forward to seeing that happen.  I think it’s critical that every agency that can potentially impact our life be involved and SSA is a major player in that arena.  Where else would I ever get the opportunity to share this idea or information with PACHA other than USCHA?  So, thank you for this great opportunity.


Lilieth Conolly – Santa Monica, CA

The gathering of numerous Black women from different states, both near and far, was truly inspiring. It is a significant and long-awaited event that is much needed in the current climate of violence, particularly against Black women and young girls. Regardless of how we identify ourselves, whether it be cisgender, transgender, nonbinary, queer, heterosexual, lesbian, or any other label, it is crucial that we come together in order to make substantial progress in ending the HIV epidemic.

One of the most important lessons I took away from this powerful conference is that as women, we are stronger together than we realize. This is the time for us to accelerate the provision of healthcare, testing, and linkages to care. We must intensify our efforts in serving the most heavily impacted populations, such as the Black communities, specifically women whom we know are still to this day, disproportionately affected.  We must collaborate with other facilities, organizations, and Cohorts in offering medical and non-medical comprehensive services to these afore mentioned hardest hit communities.

My goal going forward, is to work hand in hand with these organizations to secure funding from initiatives such as the MAI and Black Initiatives funding, which will further aid our cause.

I would like to see us continue to forge ahead and form partnerships with smaller organizations to improve our chances of accessing the necessary funding.

By doing so, we can make a tangible difference in the fight against the HIV epidemic and ensure better health outcomes for all. I plan to do my part as a newly appointed member on the Supervisory Board of Los Angeles County Commission On HIV, fellow Advocate, and RWP Consumer.

This was my first or time attending the USCHA, and I truly appreciated due to the many informative, relevant, and engaging topics/sessions.  Thank you again for this wonderful and unforgettable opportunity.


Marcia Gullatte – Birmingham, AL

I was so excited to read the email that confirmed that I was selected to be a part of the 2023-2024 HIV 50 + Cohort at the USCHA Conference.  It is an honor to be among this esteemed group of individuals.  The members of this group are among the giants in our community nationally and now I am counted as a member.

When I arrived at the first plenary 50 + table, I realized that this group is a family. I saw how each member greeted each other and showed so much concern for each other. My heart is filled with gratitude, to know that I too am a part of this group.

On Friday night of the USCHA conference, it was a privilege to attend “Voices of Experience: Listening to Older Adults with LWH and LTS”.  The food was amazing. Meeting new members of my new family was delightful. I loved the movie.  I was enthralled with the listening session in which we had the opportunity to share our concerns about aging with HIV. I am waiting with great anticipation to see how the information gathered will be utilized in creating change to address these concerns. America was not prepared for us, but despite great adversity, we are here and thriving. Now that we were heard it is time for action. I am eager to see the change and to be a part of that change.


Mary Lucero-Hill – Denver, CO

There are no words to describe how I feel after attending USCHA 2023.  From the moment I saw the Washington Monument on one side and the Capital building across the grass on the other side while in the Uber to the hotel…I became part of history.  I literally shed tears.  I could not believe I was in the space where laws are made for our nation!  Overwhelmed does not even begin to describe my emotions in that moment.  And I haven’t even reached the hotel, nor the start of the conference!

The conference itself was overwhelming and overstimulating.  I was amongst the best of the best in the fight against HIV/AIDS.  All I could do was become a sponge to the experience.  I was able to interact with other professionals in the field (doctors, prevention staff, advocates, and educators); learning their lived and professional experience and how it relates to ending the HIV epidemic.  Being part of the 50+ Strong and Healthy cohort has afforded me the opportunity to learn more about the aging process and how best to help not only myself as I age with HIV, but how to assist my clients in thriving well.  As a PLWH, and a Case Manager in the field, all those who are professionals in the field should have the opportunity to experience this at least once.  This has been and will forever be a once in a lifetime experience that I will NEVER forget!


Two attendees posing with book at USCHASusan Baldridge – Smithtown, NY

The USCHA this year was in one word: Magical!

I choose the word magical because that is how everyday felt like at the conference. This year, over 4000 people attended the conference, and I must say that everyone I encountered was kind and nice.

To imagine a world where everyone got along and there was no judgement, no stigma, just pure genuine kindness, that is what this year’s conference was like. People walking around, talking about HIV without having to worry who heard and who saw them. Watching all the people gather in the hotel lobby, laughing and enjoying themselves was magical.

Then, there were the workshop’s, the workshops were so interesting and informative. I especially took interest in the Native American workshops. It’s nice being a Native American and to see workshops on Native Americans was awesome.

I really enjoyed my time at the conference, and I am looking forward to attending the next conference.


Victoria Graves-Cade – Brooklyn, NY

What a celebration of love, empowerment, energy, and commitment. A Recognition and Validation of the importance and contributions that Black Women have made to our society and our nation. The 4-hour train ride from New York City to D.C. allowed me the time to pause and take a moment to appreciate the opportunity this conference would have on my life and the lives of so many that would attend.

I hit the ground running catching up with my dear friend and ride or die for over 20 years, Denise Drayton (50+Scholar), to map out our schedule. There was so much to decide, and I was disappointed we would not be able to attend all the sessions. Every morning started in private prayer, breakfast with my friend and new people we met and then off to the schedule. I attended the workshop called, “Demanding Better: Advancing Quality of Life in the National HIV Response,” and the Opening Plenary with Congresswoman Maxine Waters. She had a rich message, though some verbiage used was outdated.

Every day was an absolute gift of speakers, panelist, exhibitors, and lounges that had us full of pride and hope. I am charged to join the HIV Caucus where I learned about MIPA (Meaningful Involvement People with AIDS) and things like “If they are not letting you at the table, bring a folding chair” and “Demand your Quality of Life.”  We were uplifted in song by Sweet Honey In the Rock and the always stellar, Yolanda Adams. Sheryl Lee Ralph’s message was clear and empowering.

We gazed on and celebrated our powerful Lifetime Survivors/Dandelions with awe and appreciation for our linked experiences, stigma, strength and hope for our futures together.

Truth telling, Conversations, Celebration, Healing and Womanhood just to name a few topics and spaces available throughout this magnificent conference. So many safe spaces to learn, share and grow.

I got a chance to take the DC Metro #70 bus to 633 Pennsylvania Ave to visit for the first time the only building owned and operated by Black Women on Pennsylvania Ave by the National Council of Negro Women, INC of which I am a Legacy Life Member. What an overwhelming joy it was to see.

The messages that stuck with me were many and so were the people I met, but I will name a few. “In Her We Trust”; “When you find that real love for yourself build a house”. “Take your power back-Live Life with Intention.”

Thank you NMAC and USCHA for seeing us Black Woman living long and vibrantly with HIV and putting us center stage.

Speaker at USCHATwo attendees at USCHA


Yolanda Ross – Houston, TX

I can honestly say that I am truly honored to be a part of this amazing cohort and attending the USCHA for the very first time. As an African American woman who is thriving and living strong with HIV and empowered to eradicate stigma attached to HIV/AIDS, I must say that this conference has motivated me to continue to speak my truth and celebrate women of color who are living with HIV/AIDS.

I learned so much about addressing issues in biomedical HIV prevention, aging, service delivery, and telehealth, prioritizing the issues of people with HIV and the next steps in ending the epidemic. I look forward to the next USCHA conference in 2024 and I hope I am able to attend once again.

2023-2024 HIV 50+ Strong & Healthy Program New Members

NMAC is pleased to announce the 2023 HIV 50+ Strong and Healthy cohort. These individuals were part of a competitive application process. The 50+ Strong and Healthy program started in the summer of 2016, and the 2023 affiliate constitutes the eighth cohort. Since the program’s launch, we have fostered leadership and built community through projects like mini-grants, peer health education events, the National HIV and Aging Advocacy Network (NHAAN), social media campaigns, and webinars around HIV and aging topics. This year, we will continue to engage, educate, advocate, and mobilize this year’s HIV 50+ Scholars, as well as 50+ Scholars from past years.

We are also excited to announce that NMAC awarded scholarships specifically to a group of Lifetime Survivors, people who have been living with HIV since birth or early childhood, to attend USCHA and to support their organizing efforts in developing an advocacy agenda. We are happy to support the work of this community.

NMAC takes accountability and transparency seriously. That’s why, as we go through the selection process to select the HIV 50+ Scholars, we make sure that those selected represent the communities most impacted by the HIV epidemic. This year’s HIV 50+ cohort is comprised of individuals aging with HIV and who advocate for PLWH over the age of 50 and/or other Long-Term Survivors. As always, the cohort is made up of a mix of returning 50+ Scholars new Scholars.

  • Age: A majority of the 50+ Scholars belong to the age group of 55-64 (43%). People aged 45-54 make up 39% of the cohort, while folks 65+ make up almost one fifth of the cohort (18%). The age ranges of the Lifetime Survivors range from 24-37.
  • Gender: From the selected group of 50+ Scholars, 50% identify as female, while 44% identify as male. TGNC folks made up 6% of selected Scholars. 82% of the Lifetime Survivors contingency identify as female and 18% identify as nonbinary.
  • Sexual orientation: The cohort is evenly split, 50/50, between people who identify as queer (gay, lesbian, bi+, Same-Gender Loving, pansexual, Two-Spirit) and people who identify as heterosexual.
  • Geography: Scholars represent 22 different states and Puerto Rico.
  • b54% of the 50+ cohort is Black/African American, 20% is Latinx, 14% is White, 6% is AAPI, 4% is Native American/Alaska Native, and 2% is Middle Eastern/North African (MENA). In keeping with USCHA’s focus this year, Black Women make up 40% of the cohort, the largest of any group. Black Men (14%) and Latinx Men (14%) are the next two largest groups of Scholars. 70% of the Lifetime Survivors cohort is Black/African American and 40% identify as Afro-Latinx or Latinx.

We congratulate and welcome these Scholars and we look forward to working with all of them.

50+ Strong & Healthy Cohort 2023

Aaron Teran – San Diego, CA
My name is Raul Aaron Teran, and I am a native of the Tijuana/San Diego Border. I was born in Tijuana, Mexico but was raised in San Diego. I became a Registered Nurse in August of 2016, and ten months later I began to work for San Ysidro Health where I currently work as the HIV RN Supervisor of the HIV/Infectious Disease Dept. I love my job and enjoy going to work knowing that I am making a difference in my community.


Alicia Diggs – Burlington, NC
Alicia Diggs is a native of Philadelphia, PA but resides in North Carolina. Alicia has a bachelor’s degree in Social Work, a master’s degree in Public Health and has completed doctoral courses for a PhD in Public Health with a focus in Advocacy and Leadership. Alicia works for the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Center for AIDS Research (UNC-CFAR) as the Manager for the Office of Community Engagement. Alicia is a local, national, and global speaker and subject matter expert for HIV and AIDS. She is a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA{pronounced POTCHA}), a member of the REPRIEVE Community Advisory Board and Publications Committee, the North Carolina State Lead for the Positive Women’s Network-USA and Policy Fellow, a member of U.S. PLWH Caucus, a Sero Project Justice Institute Graduate, Co-Chair of the HIV Prevention Community Advisory Council (HPCAP {pronounced HIP CAP), Chair of the National Community Advisory Board (NCAB) for the MACS/WIHS {pronounce WISE} Combined Co-Hort Study, SisterLove 2020 Leading Women’s Society Alumnae, and a participant of “I’m Still Surviving” a living women’s history of HIV/AIDS. Alicia is also a published author of an autobiography entitled, Standing on My Healing: From Tainted to Chosen.

Andy Roybal – San Antonio, TX
Hi, I’m Andy Roybal and I’m a healthy living advocate for people living with HIV. I live in San Antonio, TX.


Angela Asbell – Detroit, MI
I am a Cultural Stigma Coach, the first of its kind. I work with people of all ages, teenagers to people 50+. I coach PLWH about HIV-related stigma. My goal is to help EHE and help equip PLWH with the necessary tools to succeed in life.



Bernardo Gomez – Los Angeles, CA
Just turned 50 Years old. I’ve been living with HIV since 1996! I’ve worked in HIV Prevention since 2000 and am currently working with The Wall/Las Memorias as an HIV Testing Project Coordinator.


Bobby Avalos – Orange, CA
My name is Bobby and I have been HIV Positive since 2003. I’m an Artist, Leader, and Peer Advocate for Aging Adults living with HIV and Substance Abuse, here in Orange County, CA. As a Peer Leader, I challenge myself in my own care and education and am passionate about helping and serving the HIV Aging Community through: Advocacy, Prevention, Peer Support, Life Experience, and Compassion. I enjoy being a part of a community whose goal is ending the HIV Epidemic. What do I bring to the Table? I bring a vast range of Multicultural Involvement’s and Experience with my own HIV Journey, as well as my Peer Work within the HIV Aging Community.

Bobby Pierce – Texarkana, TX
Bobby is the Community Engagement Director for Engaging Arkansas Communities. He is passionate about advocating for comprehensive healthcare and support services for people thriving with and aging with HIV. He has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from California State University, Northridge. He is a member of numerous health coalitions and advocacy groups including the National HIV & Aging Advocacy Network and currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Director for Special Health Resources of Texas.

Brenda Chambers – St. Helens, OR
I am a white straight female who is an advocate for women living with HIV who are over 50 years of age. I am a grandmother of 10 and a mother of four. I ran an HIV program for 6 years for Native Americans and participate in the Aging Well program at Cascade AIDS Project. I am a happy, well-adjusted woman who is single.



Cecilia Lygons – Houston, TX
Cecilia Ligons was diagnosed with HIV in 1991 and AIDS in 2000. Mrs. Ligons lived in denial of the disease until 2003. Her resolve was to “suffer in silence, no one needed to know.” Cecilia has served as a member of the Ryan White Planning Council for sixteen years and is the first HIV+ African American female to be elected as chair of the Council. She founded a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization called Living Without Limits Living Large, an HIV/AIDS heterosexual support and referral group, in January 2006. She has served on numerous boards, planning groups, CABs, councils, and committees locally, statewide, and nationally. She currently works as a Case Manager at Corder Place Apartments Houston Supportive Housing.


Chauncey McGlathery – Atlanta, GA
Chauncey McGlathery studied Electrical Engineering at Auburn University, then practiced federal civil rights law in New York before receiving training in Social Justice Theory and Practice from many institutions including Harvard University, Tufts University, and the Interaction Institute. Most recently, he taught in the African and African Diaspora Studies Department at Boston College. As a public health policy manager, Chauncey develops and implements voter education and advocacy training, and partners with the agencies to develop a statewide policy agenda and needs assessment for marginalized populations while working with stakeholders and collaborative participants to develop a set of highly strategic, targeted, and achievable advocacy goals and policy priorities.


Chuck Albrecht – Phoenix, AZ
I first began volunteering and advocating for PLWHAs in 1985. Shortly after beginning my volunteer activities, I was hired by AIDS Volunteers of Cincinnati as a Case Manager and was promoted to Executive Director in 1989. I also served as Executive Director for Tampa AIDS Network and as Chief Operating Officer for the Alzheimer’s Association. I was the first HIV/AIDS Case Manager in Ohio. Some highlights from my time as Executive Director for ASOs included starting the first women’s HIV education and outreach program in Ohio and implementing multi-agency Case Management collaborations in both Ohio and Florida. I have served on the Board of the AIDS Action Council, advocated for the Ryan White CARE Act and HOPWA through national and community level advocacy efforts, Chaired Title II Consortium and Title I Planning Council and committees, Chaired Advocate for Sound AIDS Policy (ASAP), and Chaired the Florida AIDS Action Council. I continued my professional and volunteer activities in the HIV/AIDS arena until my retirement in 2019. In retirement, I have served as the Chair of the Training, Education, and Membership Committee for the Greater Phoenix Ryan White HIV Services Planning Council, served on that entity’s Executive Committee, and served as their HIV Consumer Representative. My educational background includes degrees in Medical Technology, Zoology and a Master’s in Business Administration. I am a recipient of Lydia Grant Humanitarian Award, the Ohio AIDS Service Award, and the Florida AIDS Service Starfish Award.

Claude Bowen – Lithonia, GA
Innovative and cutting-edge Spiritual leader and Community Advocate whose Social Justice and community involvement has attained accommodations from the Inland Empire Gay and Lesbian Democratic Association, Catholic Charities in the cities of Riverside, San Bernardino and Los Angeles as well as the California State Office of AIDS. Cofounder of Ubuntu a consulting firm to continue the work in HIV/AIDS Prevention and Education and Life Coaching. Scholar of the Center of Disease Control HIV Learning Institute. Co-author of the THRIVESS Silver Lining Project. I hold a Bachelor of Psychology (emphasis on Human Behavior Analysis), ordained and licensed Minister.


Clarence Ruff – Detroit, MI
Hello, my name is Clarence Ruff, I’m 73 years old and I was diagnosed with HIV in 1986. I acquired HIV from IV substance use. I’ve been a PLWH for 37 years and my goal is to help bring about a different narrative of acceptance for PLWH.


Cynthia Rodgers – Bessemer, AL
Cynthia E. Rodgers is a masterful storyteller, a skilled trainer of trainers and a published author with nearly twenty-five years of program management experience. She has co-authored several grants to secure multiple funding streams for patient care, staff retention and community education serving vulnerable populations throughout Alabama. Her provision of psychosocial services, disease management and comprehensive sexual health education has lent to the retention of People Living with HIV in medical care.

Cynthia’s leadership training expertise has afforded her opportunities to offer consultancy throughout Alabama and to many national entities. Her work with pharmaceutical companies as a contracted speaker expounding on the risks and benefits associated with antiretroviral medications and strategies to counter the challenges inherent to managing a chronic illness has positively impacted many lives throughout the nation.

She currently serves as an HIV program manager for Alabama Regional Medical Services-one of the most enduring Federally Qualified Health Centers in Alabama.


David Martin – New York, NY
David Martin is a health equity and human rights advocate, which stems from his professional involvement with health, arts, and cultural organizations in the Greater New York region for more than 25 years. Currently, he serves as a mayoral appointee to the HIV Health and Human Services Planning Council of New York, and for the past three years has been elected as its Consumer at Large. David takes great pride in making a positive difference for the benefit of others who are marginalized and underserved. He is committed to addressing the unmet needs of PWH by working to increase awareness, lessen inequities, and magnify the focus on creating better health outcomes through his input on service directives and policies for New Yorkers, who, predominately, are HIV long-term survivors.

David is also a member of the New York State AIDS Institute’s Quality of Care Consumer Advisory Committee and a consultant with the Stigma and Resilience (STAR) Coalition’s project team at the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. In 2021, he joined NYU Langone Health to become a facilitator for its Chronic Disease Self-Management Program for PLWH. Recently, having joined SAGE as its SAGEPositive Program Coordinator, David has several opportunities to put his knowledge and 36 years of lived experience to good use by assisting LGBTQ+ elders in securing appropriate health care, and getting them access to the programs and services that they need and certainly deserve.

With its recent launch by PeerView Institute for Medical Education, David provides insight as a patient and advocate in the newly released certified training activity titled, “Retaining and Re-Engaging People Living With HIV in Care: A Unique Look at Challenges and Opportunities From the Perspective of the Patient, Navigator, and Provider.” This has been an encouraging and inspiring journey working with so many amazing and dedicated health professionals. I am excited at the potential of reaching a broader community to share and uplift colleagues who are doing great work and have genuine concern and compassion for the community. May you all continue to achieve success and better the health of others. Many thanks for all of the support.


Denise Drayton – Brooklyn, NY
Denise Drayton has been working in the field of HIV/AIDS for over 25 years: She began working at Exponents Inc. an AIDS Service and Harm Reduction Organization with the ARRIVE Program. During her employment with Exponents, she has held positions as one of the lead developers and Assistant Project Director of the PWA Leadership Training Institute and Director of Education and Prevention of ARRIVE Training Program.. Ms. Drayton has been HIV+ for 30 years and is a formerly retired person who returned to the workforce at 70yrs.old She has worked at Senior Planet/Older Adults Technology Services and as a Peer Educator/Community Liaison at ACRIA Centers at GMHC conducting workshops and presentations on Older Adults on Sexual Health and HIV Prevention. Ms. Drayton has served on the Board of Directors of Exponents Inc, AIDS Medicine & Miracles Advisory Board, Consumer Advisory Board for New York Presbyterian Hospital. She is also a member of the Gilead Peer Advocate Network Speaker Education Ambassador Program and a member of the NMAC 50+Strong and Healthy Scholars Program, she recently joined the National HIV&Aging Advocacy Network Training of Trainers Committee. Denise is a person of faith and attends Emmanuel Baptist Church, Brooklyn, where she is the Program Coordinator Consultant for Healing Touch HIV/AIDS Ministry She finds HIV Prevention Education and Advocacy very rewarding and feels blessed to have the ability as a HIV+ Older Adult to work in a field that is very important to her and be able to provide representation to her community.


Edward Lowry – Philadelphia, PA
Edward Lowry is a 61-year-old African American man and US Military Veteran who was diagnosed with HIV in 1998. Eddie received his formal training in advocacy through Philadelphia FIGHT’s adult health literacy program known as Project TEACH (Treatment Education Activists Combatting HIV). His advocacy began in 2003, promoting quality healthcare for people living with HIV who were incarcerated. He continues to support returning citizens with linkage to healthcare and Re-entry services. Eddie is a long-time member of ACT-UP Philadelphia where his advocacy broadened to include all marginalized groups of people- along the social justice spectrum. Currently, Eddie is a Peer Specialist and a Certified Mental Health Recovery Specialist and has provided support for Veterans and other community members living with HIV, AIDS, mental health disorders and substance abuse. Eddie is the co-founder of a Philadelphia- based advocacy support group for heterosexual men living with HIV known as “Philadelphia Positive Men’s initiative.” He attended the International AIDS Conference in South Africa, where he advocated to end HIV Criminalization. He is a member of The Reunion Project where he supports the development a national alliance of Long-Term Survivors – alongside his wife of 16 years, Waheedah Shabazz-El.

Franklin Sampley – Indianapolis, IN
I got involved with HIV issues in about 1984. Helping to found the San Joaquin AIDS Foundation in California. Since then I have worked in various positions in different NPO’s to address HIV and AIDS issues. I currently work with Affirming Christian Fellowship as the director of the HIV/AIDS Ministry. We seek to provide individual support and ministry support to affiliated churches and ministries. I’m on the Marion County Ryan White Planning Council, a part of USPLHIV, and NHAAN.


Ivette O. Chavez Gonzalez – Buffalo, NY
I am a Peer Outreach Worker for a SSP in Buffalo, NY at Evergreen Health and I am the Founder and Executive Director of my own harm reduction community organization called The Giving Back Foundation. I am currently in recovery, but I used drugs and was in and out of the system for over 30 years. I provide sterile supplies, HIV prevention and treatment education and linkage, and most importantly a non-judgmental, loving space for community members to come to me. I am living with HIV and a proud Puerto Rican woman. I love my community in Buffalo, and I would do anything to make sure my people get what they need to live their lives safely and with love. I am also a Peer Leader with VOCAL-NY, where I take part in direct actions and lobbying days to advocate for policies that will improve the livelihood of People Who Use Drugs and People Living with HIV in New York State.


Jamie Collins – Dallas, TX
My name is Jamie Collins. I am a 54-year-old African American Trans Woman living in Dallas, Texas. I became an advocate for people living with HIV AIDS in the 1990’s as I watched many friends and family members die from the disease as well as being treated poorly by hospital doctors and staff. I was diagnosed with HIV in 2012. And I continue to serve my community through the committees, organizations and boards that I’m a part of.

Joseph Robinson – College Park, GA
I’m a native New Yorker (born and raised in NYC). I’ve lived in Oakland, California, Tampa, Florida and now reside in Atlanta, GA. My background is fluid, 20+ years in financial services, 15 years as a travel consultant and dual 20+ years volunteering/advocating/working within the HIV spectrum. Over the past 20 years, I’ve served on various committees and groups as it relates to HIV. In addition to attending the Black AIDS Institute, I served as Chairperson of the Sacrament HIV Planning Council and the Co-Chair of NIH’S Adult Clinical Trials- Community Constituency Group. I’m currently a member of the American Academy of HIV Medicine’s Community Advisory Group and the Atlanta EMEA Planning Council and the manager of the Silver Lining Project in Atlanta, GA, and the THRIVE SS program.


Joyce Belton – Columbia, SC
Joyce Belton was born in Columbia SC, and after testing positive for HIV in 1994, she had to start to advocate for her needs to be meet, including going to Capitol Hill to get the Legislature to reauthorize the Ryan White Care Act. Then, she worked on the AIDS Alliance Corp. training program, Common Threads, Wise Woman, Positive Voices advocacy group. She has served as a Gilead ambassador, an HIV Is Not A Crime ambassador, and serves in Positive Women’s Network USA-South Carolina chapter.



Kneeshe Parkinson – Saint Peters, MO
Kneeshe Parkinson is the Founder of RISE Impact, a motivational speaker, Certified Life Coach, Trainer, Facilitator, Activist, and Founder of KneesheSpeaksSTL~2018. Kneeshe is an awardee of the BALSA Foundation where she has invested her time over a 10-week Cohort and received a cash award of $1000.00 in seed start-up funding for her non-profit. Kneeshe Parkinson has nearly two decades of catalyzing individuals in the areas of health, education, and emotional well-being. Her passion is implementing programs that positively influence underlying social determinants of health. Kneeshe believes that all black women have the right to sustain a quality of life and be able to manifest healthy lifestyle and RISE to their FULL potential.


Lacretia Springer – Memphis, TN
Lacretia Lamour is of Black and Chinese descent born on September 29, 1947, and raised in Tupelo, MS. In her youth, she joined the army and attended Lane College, where she studied Business Management and a minor in Spanish. Lacretia was involved in voter rights during the Civil Rights era and later became a barber and cosmetology instructor. At the height of her career, she was a platform artist for Hawaiian Silky hair products. Lacretia has traveled extensively, spending some time all over the United States and Europe. Lacretia is a survivor of anti-trans violence and domestic violence. Now, Lacretia resides in Memphis, TN, where she is the Manager of the volunteers at WeCareTn and also an HIV Educator and Prevention Specialist. She also works with pageant contestants teaching them refinement and runway walks. Lacretia is a recent honoree of the Torch Award at the National Trans Visibility March in Los Angeles, CA. She also received the Living Legend Award at Trans Girls Rock Gala. Lacretia still impacts the Black TLGBQIA community as a beacon of inspiration for a new generation as a 75 yo unapologetic Trans person.


LaTrischa Miles – Kansas City, MO
LaTrischa Miles, BBA, CHW, is a Manager of Treatment Adherence at Kansas City CARE Health Center. She has over 20 years of experience in HIV services and is nationally recognized with expertise in training, supervision, advocacy, treatment adherence, and community education.

Ms. Miles brings her knowledge and skills in creating materials and peer learning modules for improving literacy and engagement in care. Additionally, she has provided Technical Assistance to organizations in Florida, Missouri, Atlanta, Texas, Boston, and California; specifically for the University of California San Francisco research staff and for persons living with HIV and AIDS to become Peer Educators.

Ms. Miles has worked on Social Justice and Human Rights since hosting the first public meeting in Kansas City, on December 8, 2011, bringing awareness and proposing changes to antiquated HIV Criminal laws in the state of Missouri. She is the founder of the Missouri HIV Justice Coalition (whose tagline is Change the Law; End the Stigma). She has frequently testified at the Capitol in Jefferson City to legislators on the Health and Judiciary Committees and is proud to say that the Governor of Missouri signed the bill last year to modernize existing HIV criminal statutes making the law consistent with science as well as adopting other changes in the law.

Ms. Miles is one of 28 Co-founders of the U.S. Positive Women’s Network (PWN) established in 2008 and is the current Board Co-Chair. She also serves as a Board member for Hope Care Center, a skilled nursing facility providing senior care services. She is the founder and President of GRACE of Greater Kansas City, a Women’s monthly support group. Ms. Miles received the following awards and honorees: the Martin Luther King Honoree “Keeping the Dream Alive Award”– Medicine/Health Care from the American Businesswomen’s Association, an Honoree member of the 2020 Leading Women’s Society whose focus is mentoring advocates and providing leadership, the Mark Dreiling Award for Community Leadership from the AIDS Service Foundation of Kanas City, the Elaine Aber Humanitarian Award recognized for steadfast advocacy in HIV Criminalization work with Empower Missouri for humane treatment. Her hobbies are reading and running. She enjoys spending time with her family. Ms. Miles is a speaker and volunteer in several organizations.


Lilieth Conolly – Santa Monica, CA
Lilieth Conolly was born in Mullins River, Belize. She is the youngest of three children born to a proud mother and father of Caribbean descent. As Founder and CEO of the Helen Agnes Center of Hope Ministry, which is now merged with the You Can Live Outreach Program, she has many accomplishments that represent her greatness. Her work includes serving as a Community Health Outreach Worker for Prototypes/WARN (Women’s AIDS Reduction Network) and being employed at the LGBTQ Center, as Pre/Post Test Counselor. She facilitates discussion groups on topics surrounding HIV/AIDS education and prevention as well as a host of other issues affecting women’s health. Ms. Conolly also serves on the LA County Commission on HIV. Ms. Conolly has brought awareness to countless numbers of women and young people who have tested positive for HIV through her social media platforms, webinars, and in person. She has also had the distinguished privilege of serving as an Executive Board Member for Women at Risk in Los Angeles, California. As of this writing, she currently holds a Seat as an Unaffiliated Consumer on the LA County Commission on HIV. She continues to share her personal experiences, testimonies, as well as trials and errors. She believes that God has a plan for her life, and she has gained strength and hope by advocating and educating others on HIV/AIDS. As long as Stigma exists… she will be standing right there on the Front.

Linda Williams – Deltona, FL
As a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, and having been diagnosed with HIV in 1994, I personally understand the challenges and barriers of maintaining health and wellness, while thriving as a person living with HIV. I also understand the constant need to engage in federal, state, and local efforts to secure systemic policy changes, along with strategic investments necessary for the reduction of HIV-related health disparities and the intersectional stigma resulting from HIV and ageism.

Born in Washington, DC, but raised in Philadelphia Pennsylvania, I have been a passionate Community Leader for many years. Migrating to the South more than thirty years ago, I have served my local communities in various capacities; including civil rights activism, advocacy, serving on the Panelist for the Foster Care Citizen Review Board, a certified Guardian Ad Litem for the Forth Judicial Circuit Court in the State of Florida, and a community outreach worker (including mentoring and special programs coordinator).

In addition, I have been involved with HIV advocacy and public policy for over a decade, while volunteering as a Community Leader, chairing multiple committees, and serving as a senior officer on the Jacksonville and Atlanta Area HIV Health Services Planning Councils. I am continuing my passion for community service to greatly impact those living with and affected by HIV and have completed the NMAC ELEVATE Training as well as currently participating in the NMAC ESCALATE Experience for further equipping.


Luis Villanueva – Cathedral City, CA
I grew up in the Coachella Valley. My father was from Michoacán, Mexico, mom from Vallejo, CA. As an undergraduate in Sociology, I wrote my thesis the history of queer Latinx organizations in San Diego, CA. In Latin American Studies, I wrote my master’s thesis on Brazilian male escorts (aka michê) selling sex online in Western Europe. For five years at two different campuses, I taught part time in Sociology and LGBTQ Studies. In Anthropology, my dissertation topic was on Latino immigrant MSM living with HIV in the Coachella Valley, not completed due to having to care for my late mother. I co-facilitated a discussion group for long time survivors and founded a support group for Latino men.


Marcia Gullatte – Birmingham, AL
Marcia Gullatte has a Master of Social Work degree and Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. Ms. Gullatte was diagnosed with HIV in January 1994. Ms. Gullatte has two children, both after learning about her HIV status and both are HIV negative. She has one grandson who brings sunshine to the day.

Ms. Gullatte is the co-founder of her own HIV non-profit organization, Radiant Open-Minded Self-Assured Empowerment (R.O.S.E.) HIV/AIDS Project (1996 – 1998), she went on to work for AIDS Survival Project in Atlanta, Georgia as an Outreach Coordinator and later Program Manager, Treatment Education, next she worked as a Community Liaison for Dupont Pharmaceuticals and Bristol Myers Squibb. In the 1990’s and early 2000’s Ms. Gullatte appeared on The Oprah Show, and was featured in articles in News Week, the New York Times, and Marie Claire Magazine . She has spoken at the United Nations, many churches, schools, and national conferences, such as the United States Conference on AIDS.

Currently Ms. Gullatte is working as a volunteer as a community health worker and support group facilitator for several organizations. Ms. Gullatte has served on several committees and boards since being diagnosed with HIV. She has served on the UAB Research (ACTG) CAB in Birmingham, AL, the Grady ACTG CAB, and the CPCRA CAB in Atlanta, GA. Ms. Gullatte served on the Ryan White Planning Council in Atlanta, Ga and the MLK March Committee. Additionally, she served on the Georgia 2000 Census Complete Count Committee just to name a few. Ms. Gullatte speaks from her heart, sharing, courage, strength, and hope. She is a passionate advocate to remove the walls of stigma, one brick (person) at a time, that surround HIV and mental illness due to ignorance.


Mary Lucero-Hill – Denver, CO
Mary Lucero-Hill is a Ryan White Case Manager with 10 years’ experience in metro and rural Colorado and has been living with HIV since 2002. Mary helps newly diagnosed individuals to long-term survivors, and everyone in between, get connected to services and remain in care. Mary is an advocate fighting for the rights of the People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWH), LGBTQ+, people of color, marginalized groups, aging HIV population, and individuals in her community. Mary is a former member of the Colorado Alliance Committee. She is an active member of PWN-CO, and recently part of the Case Management and Oral Health Standards of Care Review Committees; Disrupting/Reducing Inequalities and Improving Health Outcomes for PLWH COHAS Workgroups; and a participant of the HIV Case Management Assessment Advisory Committee for the Denver Metro area. Mary was elected to be the Co-Chair for the Improving Health Outcomes for PLWH COHAS Workgroup. Mary’s focus is to be an educator of external and internal stigma related to HIV and those affected by it, and an advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves. Mary enjoys peace and solitude on the weekends, which contributes to rejuvenating her spirit to continue the work she does. Mary enjoys collecting positive affirmations to share with friends, family, coworkers, and clients.


Michelle Anderson – Duncanville, TX
Michelle Anderson, former 2011 Ms. Plus America, the first only known HIV+ Black woman to ever run in any mainstream and win a national crown. Currently, Michelle resides in Dallas Texas and continues to lend her voice as a Board member of The Afiya Center, CAB member and Blogger for The Well Project, NMAC 50+ Fellowship Member, and National Ambassador of The Black AIDS Institute, Greater Than AIDS, and Let’s Stop HIV Together. A foodie at heart and a lover of good vibes and good conversations, Michelle brought these three elements together and established Good Vittles Catering LLC where she continues to expand her ministry to end eradicate HIV at the root!


Miguel Rodriguez – Monterey Park, CA
I am a 59-year-old immigrant from Veracruz, Mexico. I have resided in Los Angeles, CA for the past 30 years and have been HIV+ since 1997. I’ve been working in the HIV field since 2003. I love books, the outdoors, and soft rock.




Miguel Ángel Delgado-Ramos – San Juan, PR
I am 69 years old and have been HIV+ for 34 years. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón. I am Co-Chair of the Puerto Rico HIV Prevention Planning Group. I participated in the Planning Council of the EMA of the municipality of San Juan. Member of the USCHA 2022 Host Committee, held in San Juan, Puerto Rico.


Monica Johnson – Columbia, LA
Monica Johnson is the founder and Executive Director of H.E.R.O.E.S. (Helping Everyone Receive Ongoing Effective Support), a peer-based and peer-driven organization whose mission is to provide HIV education to people at-risk and to provide supportive services for HIV-infected individuals and their families with primary focus on women and children. Through her HEROES organization, Monica has founded several original programs. Mind, Body, and Soul University (MBSU) is a treatment education program designed to educate, support, and empower women living with HIV/AIDS. The Teens in Motivational Education (TIME) peer education program, which has reached more than 2500 high-risk youth, is a teen pregnancy prevention program that utilizes a holistic approach to encourage youth to make informed choices that promote healthy decisions. Keyah is a general health education program targeting African American women in rural communities. Monica serves on many boards and committees including the Louisiana Governor’s Commission on HIV/AIDS, National Minority AIDS Council Board of Directors, LSU Community Advisory Committee, and the Region VIII Community Planning Group. She also serves as an advisor for many national conferences around the United States. Monica attended Northeast Louisiana University where she received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Medical Technology. She is also the recipient of the John Ramsey Memorial Award for Clinical Laboratory Science. Monica is the mother of a fourteen-year-old son Avery who also enjoys assisting his mom’s HIV/AIDS youth education programs. Known for her fondness of children, Monica enjoys playing, traveling, listening to music, and eating.


Paul Agular – San Francisco, CA
Paul Aguilar is a fourth generation native San Franciscan. In June 1981, 2 weeks before his 18th birthday, he read about a mysterious disease killing young gay men. In 1988, he tested positive for HIV. He began his community work volunteering at AIDS Dance-a-thon and AIDSWALK SF. Paul has worked in public safety and crime prevention for the SF Mayor’s Criminal Justice Council in the late 90’s and was on the team that originally implemented Prop 36 (Treatment not Jails) in CA. Paul is a co-founding author of the San Francisco Principles 2020, a manifesto outlining the unmet needs of long-term survivors and is also on the Board and lives at Marty’s Place Affordable Housing Corporation, the only self-governing housing co-operative for people living with HIV and AIDS in the United States. Paul is the former chair of the HIV Caucus of the Harvey Milk LGBTQ+ Democratic Club and is the current Recorder to it’s Executive Board. In 2022, Paul was awarded a Fellowship with the End the Epidemics coalition which works to end the HIV, HCV and STI epidemics in California. This year, 2023, Paul was awarded “Lifetime Achievement Grand Marshal” for San Francisco Pride 2023. Paul works as the Longtime Survivor Community Liaison in the Aging Services Department of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.


Pat Clark – Climax, MI
Diagnosed in 1991, Pat immediately began to learn as much as possible about HIV, despite living in a small community full of stigma and misinformation. She began volunteering at the ASO where she was referred to as a client. Soon after she gave up her disability and worked for them as Prevention Specialist, Medical Case Manager, and now Director of New Programs & Housing. Pat loves doing DIY work at home, gardening, and spending time in Colorado with her 2 grandkids.



Raffi Babakhanian – New York, NY
Growing up in Urbana Illinois, I left home when I was 16 in 1979, I lived for two years in Minneapolis before moving to New York to be an au pair on 5th Avenue and to attend Columbia University. Later that year at my first Gay Pride Parade, I saw Gay and Lesbian Youth (GLYNY) marching down 5th Avenue, and I ducked under the barricades to join them. In April 1985, I was arrested as part of the Columbia University anti-apartheid student sit-out and was suspended for the fall semester. That October, at 21, weeks before my birthday, I tested positive for HIV. It was just too much for me to know what to do with. It was a few years before I was able to see a doctor. However, at that same time, I found the Paradise Garage and Larry Levan, and that helped me survive. I was and am very lucky to be a slow progressor. Eventually I found ACT UP, got involved, and was arrested at the NIH. In the early 90s, I moved to Europe, eventually living in London because of another club – Trade. Quite accidentally, I found myself becoming an AIDS treatment activist, writing for National AIDS Manual (the predecessor of aidsmap.org), and in 1996 founding the UK AIDS Treatment Project (ATP) which grew to about 50 people, mostly HIV+, ½ gay men, ½ African immigrants (then the two most HIV-infected groups in London) fighting for access to HAART, which wasn’t available in the UK. At the same time I became an early member of the German-based European AIDS Treatment Group (EATG) and was a co-founder of the European Community Advisory Board (ECAB) which eventually became a formal part of the European drug approval process.

Based back in New York, from 2001 to 2003, I worked with grassroots community-based HIV service organizations across sub-Saharan Africa on behalf of AfriCASO, linking them to European and US funding sources and sharing contacts and fundraising know-how. Since then I’ve been involved with the AIDS Treatment Activist Coalition (ATAC), served on the Housing Works FQHC Board, and worked as a NYS Certified Peer Specialist in an HCBS project. I also came back to ACT UP where I’m a co-founder of the Crystal Meth Working


Rik Kutcher – Minneapolis, MN
I received my HIV diagnosis 37 years ago. I was 23, and I certainly did not expect that I would ever live to experience aging with HIV, much less attend a conference where so many would still be fighting for our collective lives. I am now 60, and although it’s not always “a walk in the park” when it comes to aging with HIV, I am proud to be a part of the national conversation. There was a day when I couldn’t speak of my status to anyone for fear of rejection associated with HIV stigma that prevails still to this day. My involvement with the 50+ Strong & Healthy cohort this past year has made me so much aware of what it means to be living with and aging with HIV and this allows me to fully support older adults in my community who are currently living with HIV. Today, I not only speak up and speak out about what it is like to be living with and aging with HIV, I also lead an HIV peer support group at Rainbow Health Minnesota.

Rob Ingwerson – Portland, OR
My name is Rob Ingwerson and I work as a certified Peer Wellness support, and I also work as a community health worker doing HIV/STI testing and counseling. I was diagnosed with HIV on 3/23/2000. I identify as Asian American and hope to see more involvement from the Asian Community. Attending USCHA is one of my favorite events I look forward to each year. There is something special about being with others from your community and meeting new HIV working heroes!


Susan Baldridge – Smithtown, NY
My name is Susan Baldridge, pronouns she/her. I am a single mom of three children, I am a long-term survivor of HIV/AIDS and I have worked as a Care Navigator for 3 years now. I recently became a Certified Peer Worker through New York State. After many years of self-isolation, I recently became more of a member of my community by becoming more involved in committees and other involvements. I am very passionate about advocating for the HIV community and my fellow peers. I am so thankful for this opportunity to attend Washington D.C. and to be a part of this wonderful group. My journey just continues to get stronger and bigger with the help of this group. I plan to spread my knowledge of what I learned with my fellow peers at my United Way Consumer Involvement Committee that I co-chair.


Tiffany Hartman – Roanoke, VA
My name is Tiffany Hartman, MPH, CEO BSY PSY. I am an HIV peer educator and a mental health practitioner. I also do HIV treatment education and provide support services, harm reduction, and help people get into care.


Veronica Nava – Chula Vista, CA
My name is Veronica Nava, I work as a Peer Navigator for San Ysidro Health Center in San Diego. Where I started as a Client/Patient then I became a volunteer and now I work for SYHealth. I have come full circle and I can honestly say that I have found my calling in the HIV community. I’m currently taking a training to become a planning board member for San Diego HPG to represent the Hispanic/Latina HIV community to continue my advocacy for this unrepresented community. My pain became my purpose! Thank you for the opportunity to attend USCHA 2023.


Victoria Graves-Cade – Brooklyn, NY
I am a 64-year young African American Women, married 30years mother of 3 grown sons and 4 grandchildren. I have been HIV+ for 28 years living vibrantly and seasoned. I have worked in HIV/AIDS since the late 80s working with the DOH AIDS Hotline, Bklyn AIDS Task Force, Bedstuy Health Center Outreach HIV Testing, ACRIA at GMHC Health Literacy and Aging Program as a Peer training Older Adults on HIV and Aging also I am a member of the Healing Touch Ministry at Emmanuel Baptist Church. I am energized and eager to provide more information and tools to African American and Latino Older Women who are being left out of the conversation and research as it pertains to HIV/AIDS.


Vincent Crisostomo – San Francisco, CA
Vince Crisostomo, (age 62), is a native Chamorro based in San Francisco, and who has been living with HIV/AIDS for over 35 years. He is passionate about community and bringing health care and social justice equity to people of every sexual identity, HIV status, gender, race and age. He has dedicated over 30 years to HIV/AIDS activism and serving LGBTQ communities at international, regional, national and grassroots levels. Vince is the first Chamorro to publicly come out as Gay and living with AIDS at World AIDS Day on Guam 1992. In 2001, he relocated to lead the Pacific’s first NGO funded for HIV/AIDS work, Guam’s Coral Life Foundation (CLF), and form the Pacific Island Jurisdictions AIDS Action Group (PIJAAG) with representatives from the six Pacific Island jurisdictions to advocate for quality HIV prevention/care services and advise national, international, and local policy entities on HIV AIDS issues within the region. In 2002, Guam HIV/AIDS Network (GuaHAN Projectre) replaced CLF. From January 2007 was executive director of the Coalition of Asia Pacific Regional Networks on HIV/AIDS, founded the Pacific Island Jurisdiction AIDS Action Group, and served as a United Nations NGO delegate for the Asia Pacific June 2007 to December 2010. Currently, Crisostomo is Director; Aging Services at San Francisco AIDS Foundation. Has appointments to the California Governor’s Equity in Aging Work Group, the SF Mayor’s LongTerm Care Coordinating Council (LTCCC), Co-Chair of the Dignity Fund Oversight Committee and the SF Human Right’s Commission’s LGBTQI+ Advisory Committee. Poz Magazine named him one of 100 most influential people living with HIV in 2015 and after winning the popular vote was Grand Marshall of SF Pride 2019. Additionally, Crisostomo has performed, directed, produced and or contributed to theatrical, film, video and written productions In New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Guam and abroad.


Wanda Brendle-Moss – Winston-Salem, NC
I’m RN Case Manager Retired, diagnosed with HIV July 2002, AIDS May 2008 after bout severe depression, I stopped my meds. I’ve been Undetectable since late 2008. I’ve been Homeless, Food Insecure, survived intimate partner violence, robbed in my home at gunpoint. All this led me to start my Advocacy in 2010… I’ve not stopped since! I look forward to adding more tools to my advocacy toolbelt being part 2023/2024 HIV 50+ Strong & Healthy Group!


William Hall – Seattle, WA
I am a Community Advocate for the Native American Community here in Seattle on HIV. I work with the Seattle Indian Health Board and the Urban Indian Health Institute, making a video on stigma and HIV in the Native Community, doing speaking engagements, and seminars. I am also a CAB member for the Equity in Research through Seattle Children’s Hospital, the AIDS Clinical Trials Unit, and I just recently joined the SAC Study which will look at the Social Determinants of Health with regards to HIV/COVID in Indigenous Communities. I am currently working on getting protocols developed for our aging long-term survivors, and the many problems that come with that, especially frailty.


Yolanda Ross – Houston, TX
My name is Yolanda Ross, and I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker-Supervisor (LCSW-S) and a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDC) with more than 10 years of clinical and addition counseling experience. I am a woman in long-term recovery and is a mother to an adult daughter who is living with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). I am also a woman living strong with HIV for over 17 years. I currently work for Santa Maria Hostel, which is a residential treatment facility that helps empower women and their families to lead healthy, successful, productive and self-fulfilling lives. I am very passionate about serving women and families who are recovery from addiction and trauma and building a strong foundation for long-term success. I have also dedicated my life to helping women achieve long-term sobriety and is empowered to be a champion for the cause of social justice and diversity. I have a Bachelors and Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Houston and a second Master’s degree in Healthcare Administration (MHA) from the University of Houston-Clear. I am also a Doctoral student at the University of Kentucky for Social Work. More importantly, I am an active member of Positive Women’s Network in Houston, Texas and I am committed about promoting positive changes on the micro, mezzo and macro levels of society regarding women of color living with HIV/AIDS.

Lifetime Survivors Cohort 2023

Alyssa Crawford – Tallahassee, FL
Alyssa Crawford was born HIV positive in 1992. A native of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Alyssa began her career in public health at 19, after going public with her status when she was a student at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU). While attending FAMU, she was elected the 2012-2013 Miss Junior Attendant. Alyssa used her platform to further her advocacy both on and off campus. Upon graduation, Alyssa became the Outreach supervisor for the Minority Alliance for Advocating Community Awareness and Action, inc. (MAACA).

Alyssa’s advocacy expanded in 2020 when she became 1 of 4 HIV positive women in the U.S. that breastfed while successfully maintaining an HIV negative child. Alyssa’s lived experiences earned her a seat at the Well Project’s 2022 Perinatal roundtable, which consisted of over 200 infectious disease clinicians exploring informed decision making and research regarding breast and chest feeding in America. In addition, Alyssa recently became active in HIV criminalization law reform. To advance her knowledge and skillset, she attended the 5th Annual HIV is not a Crime Training Academy, in Emory, Virginia, with hopes of being part of the upcoming change in Florida.

Alyssa is the Region 2B Minority AIDS Coordinator for the Florida Department of Health, as well as the region’s representative on the Consumer Advisory Board. Her experiences being a vocal advocate for people with HIV has earned her recognition on television, radio, and print media. Alyssa is a proud member of Verticals, a lifetime-survivors support group headed by Nestor Rogel and Porchia Dees. She is also the CEO of HIV Pretty, a company aimed at reversing the stigma on an HIV positive status and empowering those who are positive through the arts and media. In her personal time, Alyssa enjoys being a mother, spending time with loved ones, traveling and recreational scuba diving. Alyssa believes in living life to the fullest, as she believes limits are only concepts one morphs in one’s head.


Antoinette Jones – Atlanta, GA
Antoinette Jones began her work with HIV advocacy in her early 20s, as a Peer Navigator facilitating access to preventative care and treatment for people living with and at risk for HIV. She identifies as a Vertical Women Living with HIV; meaning she has been living with HIV since Birth. Antoinette was called to peer advocacy to combat the isolation many people born with HIV go through due to the lack of awareness. Antoinette has worked with organizations serving black women and people of transgender experience developing programs, advancements in healthcare services, and mentorship/leadership development. Antoinette is a part of the Dandelions Movement which centers the needs of people born with HIV through mentorship, healing, and peer to peer interventions.

Follow the dandelions movement on IG @Dandelions_movement
Follow Antoinette on IG @itstheantoinette


Angelica Colón — Springfield, MA
Hello, my name is Angelica aka Angie. I am 39 years old, and I was born HIV positive. I was born in Puerto Rico but was raised on the East Coast/New England area. I am a widowed mother of three kids, who are all HIV negative. I have a master’s degree in social worker as well as LCSW licensure. I currently work as a medical social worker and a therapist part time. I have been taking HIV medications since the beginning when AZT was in liquid form. Through the years I have been treated with multiple HIV medications to now taking just one a day. As a child/teenager taking over 16 pills a day, I never thought the day would come when I would be taking just one pill a day to treat HIV. I also never thought that I would live as long as I have, accomplished the things I have, let alone have gotten married or had kids. Stigma was so prevalent in my years of growing up with HIV that it was hard to picture a bright and healthy future. If it weren’t for the pediatric infectious disease team that treated me in my younger days and the social worker and mentors that provided support and encouraged me, I would not be where I am today. They have been the most supportive people in my life, who I still keep in touch with today, and still continue to provide the same encouragement.


Ieshia Scott – Sunrise, FL
Ieshia Scott is a public and motivational speaker, health educator, mentor, peer, and support group facilitator based in Broward County, Florida.

Since 2015, she has created and facilitated trainings and content for youth, young adults, and HIV service organizations. Notably; “ABC’s of HIV,” “Dating and Disclosure,” and capacity-building services in client service, program development, program implementation, and community engagement as a consultant.

Ieshia has partnered with various organizations and public agencies to bring awareness to HIV/AIDS, uplift, and advocate for women living with HIV seeking sisterhood and support. Former UCF Knight, Ieshia received her Bachelor of Science in Health Services Administration and a Masters in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Management from Nova Southeastern University in August 2022.


L’Orangelis Thomas Negrón — San Juan, PR
Soy nómada, materializadora, aprendiz e improvisadora de diversas disciplinas, desde la bomba, la costura, el movimiento, el artivismo, y todo lo que pueda crear con mis negras manos. Soy organizadora comunitaria de espacios descentralizados transfeministas y antirracistas, que sean cuidados para personas menstruantes y personas viviendo con VIH. Mi trabajo va dirigido al VIH, la conciencia menstrual, la autoexploración, y la organización comunitaria. Se ve diversas maneras, y explora los ciclos que son parte de nuestra vida, desde utilizar la sangre menstrual como pintura para dibujar, diseño gráfico dirigido al VIH, la caligrafía a diversas escalas, la creación de artículos medicinales, y el desarrollo de talleres y diagramas para diálogos intergeneracionales.


Marz Albarran – Rensselaer, NY
Perinatally diagnosed with HIV. Nonbinary. Works in Learning & Development as a Sr. Policy & Procedure Specialist for the New York State Health Marketplace. Part of the Consumer Advisory Sub Committee of AIDS Institute Quality of Care Committee. Co-chair of the Aging & Long-Term Survivors & Perinatally Diagnosed subcommittee. Board Member at the Albany Damien Center. Spokesmodel for HIVStopsWithMe.org, Alliance for Positive Health, and In Our Own Voices. Have lived in upstate NY for 12 years, doing community advocacy since I was 15yrs old.


Nestor Kamurigi – Los Angeles, CA
Thank you for this amazing opportunity, I have been working on advocating for people living with HIV for 10 years. I began as an activist for the Student Global AIDS Campaign and am now a Public Health investigator working on closing circles of transmission of HIV. I am a co-chair for the Verticals group and have organized events for the community. I am eager to provide input in the strategy session.



Tranisha Arzah – New Orleans, LA
Tranisha Arzah (she/they) lives in New Orleans, Louisiana but was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. She currently works part-time as an assistant gardener for a community garden that provides local and farm-raised veggies and fruit for ‘food-apartheid’ communities.

As of late June 2022, she began a certification program to become an ICF, an accredited Spiritual Life Coach, to help establish her spiritual business to help transform people’s lives as it pertains to the intersectionalities of Spiritual Wellness with an emphasis on IBPOC experiences. Prior to living in New Orleans, she worked in Wellness and Health, especially as it related to womxn, LGBTQ, and youth communities, to provide education around HIV, sexual health and wellness services, and humxn rights activism. She has authored various blogs relating to the movement and attended many conferences and meetings advocating for affected communities. She is known as a leader who shows up to represent and educate people, especially about the issues that affect her community and matter to her deeply like HIV. Tranisha has expressed how incredibly honored she is to work in this space and grateful she is to continue to deepen her understanding of herself while also being a service to others.


Zora Voyca – New York, NY
My name is Zora Barnwell but I go by Zora Voyce. I’m located in New York City. I have been living with HIV for 26 years, I was born with it. I created my own blog named mypurora.com to write about my experience living with HIV. My goal is to help people navigate relationships and self love.




Porchia Dees – San Bernadino, CA
Porchia is a native of San Bernardino, CA and graduate of the University of California, Riverside. She is now enrolled in a part-time MSW program at Azusa Pacific University. She has been working in the HIV Direct Services field for about 10 years in different capacities. She is currently co-chair of the Lifetime Survivors Special Interest Group for the National HIV & Aging Advocacy Network (NHAAN). Porchia considers herself an Artivist whose mission is to inspire others to take better care of themselves physically, mentally, and spiritually.


Grissel Granados – Los Angeles, CA
Grissel Granados is a Mexican immigrant living in Los Angeles, CA. She co-directed and co-produced the documentary titled, We’re Still Here, that focuses on the experiences of people who were born with HIV in the ’80s and ’90s and are now adults. Grissel is a lifetime survivor of HIV and has worked in the field professionally for over a decade.


Last Week in the News

Last week the world learned…

  • Space aliens are real!
  • July was the hottest month in recorded history,
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had a medical emergency on live TV,
  • Former President Trump faces multiple additional charges while still the frontrunner in the Republican race for president, and…

you are not alone in thinking the world is going insane. News about HIV sometimes gets drowned out, like the Washington Post report that abortion restrictions may impact the renewal of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The Senate Appropriations Committee weighted in on the FY24 budget and included $616 million for the Ending HIV Epidemic Initiative, a $3 million increase. Its too soon to know what will ultimately happen to the FY24 budget or PEPFAR and it’s important for community to keep up the pressure. Below are the latest Federal AIDS Policy Partnership (FAAP) budget tables for FY24 Appropriations.

For decades, HIV funding enjoyed bipartisan support. As recently as 2019, the Trump administration purposed a new budget line item for Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) that brought much needed resources to 57 jurisdictions across the country. Now our work is caught in the crosshairs of the culture wars. Anything to do with abortion, women’s rights, the LGBTQ community, particularly transgender rights, critical race theory, drag queens, DEI (diversity, equity & inclusion), affirmative action, gun control, and immigrants’ rights gets added scrutiny. The strategy seems to be to starve the people that don’t share their values. HIV sits at the intersection of everything they hate. There is no future if we don’t fight back. Our hard work and community infrastructure could disappear if these cuts were enacted. Fortunately, we still have friends, but we can’t take them for granted. Do not assume others will take care of these challenges. Our movement needs you to come to Washington! Standard registration for USCHA closes August 4th.

Last week with trans rights under assault, NMAC held an emergency round table on Capitol Hill with member of Congress and nationally-known medical professionals and policy experts to demand urgent action to project trans Americans. The round table was hosted by Congressional Equality Caucus Co-Chair Mark Takano (D-CA) and Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus Co-Chair Barbara Lee (D-CA) and attended by Congresswoman Sara Jacobs (D-CA) (see photos above). Thank you to all the leaders who spoke.

You can find a recording of the round table here.

  • Moderator: Toni Newman, Director of the Coalition for Justice and Equality Across Movements, NMAC
  • Susan Corke, Director, Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project
  • Vivian Topping,Director, Advocacy & Civic Engagement, Equality Federation
  • Shelby Chestnut, Executive Director, Transgender Law Center
  • Lexi Adsit, Executive Director, TransCanWork
  • Dr. Fan Liang, Assistant Professor of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Johns Hopkins Medicine; Medical Director, The Center for Transgender and Gender Expansive Health

The communities hardest hit by HIV are also being weaponized by the extreme right. We did not ask for this fight. As a gay man of color, I’ve lived too much of my life with stigma and discrimination. I can’t and won’t go back into the closet. These are crazy times, but you are not alone. Standard registration for the US Conference on HIV/AIDS closes August 4th. Join this important conversation and celebrate Black Women in our movement.

Yours in the Struggle,

Paul Kawata

Paul Kawata

Big Announcement!

I am pleased to announce that Tara Barnes is NMAC’s new Deputy Director for Operations. She starts this position when Kim Ferrell retires on January 12, 2024. This decision was a no brainer. After working with her for 25 years, I’ve never met a person like Tara who always smiles and keeps her composure in the middle of multiple fires. NMAC is lucky to have her in this new role. That brings everyone great comfort and relief.

Change is difficult. I was concerned about who would follow Kim Ferrell. Tara’s 25 years at NMAC will ease this important and emotional transition. Staff, board, and constituents have decades of experience working with her. I am especially glad to continue NMAC’s legacy of strong Black women leaders.

After working with Kim for 18 years, I’ve come to understand this position’s primary function is to keep me and the agency out of trouble. The Deputy serves as the conductor who makes the engine runs smoothly and on mission. The job is mostly inward facing. Staff needs and expects leadership to hear their concerns.

Thank you, Tara,  for making what could have been a difficult transition so much easier. I am grateful. It is important for everyone to understand that Tara is not Kim, and she has her own ways of working. It may take time to make the necessary adjustments, but given our 25 years of collaboration, I have faith.

Yours in the Struggle,

Paul Kawata

Paul Kawata

Republicans Slash HIV/AIDS Funding in New Appropriations Bill

NMAC Executive Director Paul Kawata, one of the nation’s leading HIV/AIDS advocates, condemned the new Labor, Health and Human Services appropriations bill that cuts tens of billions of dollars from an array of live-saving programs.

“If House Republicans had it their way, there would be another AIDS epidemic in America,” said Kawata. “We need to be clear: these proposed cuts would lead to unnecessary death and suffering. They must be stopped.”

Kawata noted that the proposed cuts would threaten access to an array of life-saving programs, including:

  • Double-digit cuts to the budgets for the Centers for Disease Control (18%) and Department of Health and Human Services (12%)
  • $3.8 billion cut from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget
  • $238 million cut from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, the nation’s safety net for HIV care and treatment
  • $226 million cut from the National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP)
  • $32 million cut from the Minority HIV/AIDS Fund
  • Eliminates funding for Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S.; Title X; and the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program
  • Keeping funding levels flat for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), which provides FDA-approved medications to low-income people with HIV

“Republicans are waging an unprecedented assault on the LGBTQ+ community, and this is the latest attack,” Kawata added. “While we are confident that this legislation will be dead on arrival in the Senate, it’s scary that these shameful cuts will see the light of day in any chamber of Congress.”