Antonio Elmore, Cleveland, OH

Antonio Elmore, Cleveland, OH

,
Antonio Elmore, Cleveland, OH

Diagnosed in 1992, for 30 years I was isolated with no support, only attending doctors’ appointments and taking my meds. After 26 years, I attended a MetroHealth support group session and picnic. There, I met and exchanged information with Bryan C. Jones, who invited me to my first HIV healing weekend, Sankofa, an initiative created and implemented by people living with HIV. This was my first time being in a safe space with others living with HIV. There, I learned that life could be normal after being diagnosed with HIV. Two areas in particular that stood out to me were modernization of HIV laws, which I never knew existed, and U equals U which I feel is a basis for changing unjust HIV laws. It was then that I realized if I were to survive and help others to survive, I had to put aside my fears and become part of the solution.

Since my first healing weekend I’ve attended several national conferences and retreats. I’ve attended HINAC 5, and currently I am a cohort in the 2023-24 SERO Project Justice Institute. Recently, my advocacy took me to AIDSWatch where I talked to Congressional staffers about my story and how their work impacts people living with HIV. I currently work locally with Sankofa HIV initiative and volunteer with We Think for a Change, a community-based organization serving people living with HIV. I am co-chair of the men’s group there and a member of the Ohio Health Modernization Movement.