Some days I wonder why I keep doing what I do here in #BeaumontTX & HOPE...along with FAITH and LOVE...is what I rely on most I've been living with #HIV since 2011 and thought #HIVStigma was almost extinct, but not so here in #SETX Since I moved back here in 2016 I've come to realize that the situation here is reminiscent of the 1980s. FEAR & STIGMA run rampant, as well as a lack of education, awareness & community involvement. For years there has also been an inadequacy of funding & corruption among our HIV/AIDS healthcare agencies.
There are almost more than 1400 PLWH/A while our viral suppression rate is barely 53% Every month we have newly diagnosed clients finding out for the first time while in the hospital experiencing symptoms of #AIDS and every day we have these clients not seeking #HIVTreatment They just disappear because they are afraid of the FEAR and lack of compassion from the community and healthcare providers.
I have HOPE THAT WE CAN CHANGE THIS! I have FAITH that one day I won't be the only person living here who isn't afraid to share my status. I LOVE my local HIV/AIDS community and will continue to #TAKETOTHESTREETS and on Social Media to fight for them...being the voice of those too fearful to do so, and for those who always have the right to remain #HIVANONYMOUS
We have made progress. With the help of #BaptistHospital and their #SmartHealthClinic we're making strides in bringing Southeast Texas out of the HIV/AIDS Dark Ages in into the future. They are the BEST! And they're the only gig in town with #RAPIDSTART ARV Treatment for newly diagnosed clients. The Baptist Hospital Smarthealth Clinic cares, and works with us every day to help our HIV/AIDS community. They've helped us set up our first Weekly HIV/AIDS Support Group, THE POWER OF SUPPORT but there's still a long way to go.
However, I have #HOPE that one day soon my local community will be #gettingtozero I have HOPE that we'll end stigma with spreading #UequalsU and #TASP (Treatment AS Prevention). I have HOPE that we'll end the corruption in the HIV healthcare and funding system here. I have HOPE that my story helps bring attention to our struggle here, and that it might help others globally.
I have more stories to share...but for now this is the story of HOPE that is most important to me. Thank you for giving folks like me a chance to have a voice