[img src=]Shirley, Rochester, NY
Shirley fled her abusive father when she was growing up and found herself in Rochester with her boyfriend at the time. Even though doctors had told her she would never have children, she became pregnant and contracted HIV and Hepatitis-C during an emergency C-section in which she received a blood transfusion. Fearing a life of stigma and torment for her daughter, Shirley hid the truth about her status and fell into a world of cocaine addiction. But with profound strength and courage, and a little help from some guardian angels, she has been able to get clean, seek treatment for both diseases, cure her Hep-C, become undetectable with HIV, repair her relationship with her daughter, and find a job as a peer educator at AIDS Care. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="‎">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Gil, New York City
Gil was raised in the Bronx and found himself in a gang and addicted to intravenous drugs at a young age. He tested positive for HIV over 20 years ago when his pregnant wife at the time was diagnosed and died from AIDS soon thereafter. But Gil continues to live on, and he has fought the stigma and the pain every step of the way. His new wife has filled his life with hope and companionship, and he has overcome other health problems such as cirrhosis of the liver and is feeling well. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="‎">VIDEO</a></font>
<font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">SUMBIT</a></font>
[img src=]Bruce, Bronx, NY
Bruce originally hails from Virginia, where he had grown up in foster care. In 1986 at the age of 16, he was diagnosed with HIV. For many years, he lived in fear and isolation due to the harsh attitudes of his small town toward homosexuals and HIV. Upon arriving in NYC, things have improved for Bruce, who has sought education, treatment, and community through a number of providers and agencies such as Housing Works and Harlem United. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="‎">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Robert, Bronx, NY
Robert is a brand ambassador and group facilitator from Bronx Empowerment, a program of Bronx AIDS Services. He is also a professional hip hop dancer and attends the Hip Hop Dance Conservatory. Robert is pioneering new ways to unleash the beauty, art, and education through Hip Hop dance to those affected by HIV and STIs. Robert was diagnosed with HIV in 2007 and currently is undetectable. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="‎">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Nicole, Yonkers, NY
Nicole is a health educator at Sharing Community and facilitates a group called Sisters, which teaches and empowers women infected and/or affected by HIV/AIDS. She raises her 3 children on her own after she separated from her ex-husband when he revealed that he was HIV+. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="‎">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Melissa Cortes-Candia, Westchester, NY
I have been affected by HIV/AIDS. I had two aunts (sisters) that lived with the virus. One contracted it from her drug addiccted husband and my other aunt... <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="‎‎">READ MORE</a></font>
[img src=]Maritza, New Windson, NY
Maritza has been living with HIV since 1998. She is an amazing example of strength, determination, and resilience. After 14 years living with the virus, her viral load is undetectable, she has 2 children who are both negative, and she thanks God everyday for the blessings that HIV has brought her in her life. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="‎‎">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Alan Rosendale, Sydney, Australia
I was diagnosed HIV poz in 1988 when that meant, more than likely, a death sentence. Many friends were not surviving or suffering badly, even those who had started the first of the "wonder” drugs. I didn’t suffer any major HIV related illnesses or conditions-a few small things-so resisted going for treatment. In 1996, my CD count was taken and it was very low and my viral load was very high-I can’t remember exactly-so I was put on one of the first combination treatments by my Doctor at an HIV clinic at one of our better Public hospitals... <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="‎">READ MORE</a></font>
[img src=]Ana, Peekskill, NY
Ana was diagnosed with HIV in 1996. She survived an abusive home growing up, moved out, got married and had her first of 5 children at age 17. Her "wake up call" was hearing her son say they're more scared of getting her sick than of getting sick BY her. With medication, doctors, counselors, and support groups, Ana has been undetectable for years and is living healthier than ever before. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="‎">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Luis, Rochester, NY
Luis was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico. When he came to New York City in the 1980s, he became addicted to intravenous drugs and contracted HIV through sharing a dirty needle. With the help of drug recovery programs and treatment centers, Luis overcame his addiction, the loss of 2 brothers and his wife, and the pain and isolation of his status. He now is a leader in the Rochester community, standing up for the weak, the struggling, the outcast, with spiritual guidance and balance. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="‎">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Jimi Lister, Ontario, Canada
When I was diagnosed in ’86, there was nothing to do……nothing except worry and wait to die. My figuring at the time was ‘I’m gonna die, so why worry?’; which kicked off an 8 year alcoholic binge... <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="‎‎">READ MORE</a></font>
[img src=]Virginia, Beacon, NY
Virginia has been living with HIV since 1991. She became infected through her husband, who ultimately passed away from Hepatitis C. Depression, isolation, and alcohol plagued her until she found hope and strength in support groups. She lives for her children, grandchildren, and great grandkids. She's an amazing testament to overcoming adversity. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href=" ">VIDEO</a></font>
<font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">SUMBIT</a></font>
[img src=]Willy, Peekskill, NY
Willy was diagnosed with HIV in August 2012. At that time, he thought his life was over and that his world was coming to an end. He started to sink into depression and isolation. But with the help of his counselor, peers, and doctors, his viral load has dropped steadily since his diagnosis, and his quality of life is improving. His greatest hope is to be able to touch someone with his story and make a difference in the lives of others. His greatest joys are his nephews, dancing, and cheerleading. He begs all people to be safe and know your partner before you have sex. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Rufina, Rochester, NY
Rufina was infected with HIV in 1999 by her abusive ex-husband. She has battled abuse her entire life. But with 6 kids and 25 grandkids, Rufina gives thanks for the beauty, joy, and support that surrounds her every day. Rufina owes much of her strength to her case worker Gloria Melendez, and educates and inspires others through centers such as PLYD and AIDS Care in Rochester. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="‎">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Karen Grey, Peekskill, NY
Karen is a case manager for HRHCare, a non-profit network of community health centers in NYS.  She started in the HIV in 1994 because for many years she had wanted to learn more about this "weird, strange" disease that was infecting her friends and loved ones.  <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Pedro, Rochester, NY
Pedro found out he is HIV+ in 2006 when he woke up in the hospital after being in a sickle-cell-induced coma for a year and a half. When the doctors informed him he had been living with the virus already for 10 years, he traced the time of infection back to being homeless in Miami and prostituting with women. Now, Pedro sits on 2 Community Advisory Boards, has dropped his medication from 450 pills per day to only 6, takes care of himself, and encourages others living with the disease to be strong and live truthfully. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="‎">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Adaljisa, Peekskill, NY
Adalisa is a Case Manager at Hudson River HealthCare in Peekskill, NY. She has worked in the HIV field since 1993. Her passion is to help people by listening, providing education, and showing compassion. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Al, Peekskill, NY
Al has been down a long, hard road, but he remains forever positive and grateful. He was diagnosed with HIV several years ago, has suffered kindney loss, muscular and cognitive disabilities, but has improved dramatically over the last year. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Nick Cannell, Peekskill, NY
<font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Shirletta, Dutchess County, NY
Shirletta's journey with HIV starts with her sister who passed away from AIDS in 1992. At that time, Shirletta felt like she too was at risk and decided to get tested. When the results came back positive, the doctors delivered a death sentence. However, 20 years later, not only is Shirletta living and thriving with the disease, but she has also become a leading advocate in the field to educate and share her personal experiences with young people. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Neal, Poughkeepsie, NY
Neal is an HIV MEdical Adherence Nurse for HRHCare in Poughkeepsie, NY. Neal is not infected with the virus and shares the challenges and triumphs of loving and living with his husband Chris who is HIV+. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
<font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">SUMBIT</a></font>
[img src=]Charmin Getter, Dutchess County, NY
Charmin Getter is a medical case manager for Hudson River HealthCare, a non-profit network of community health centers in New York State. Charmin shares her support with her clients, and offers some advice to people who want to take control of their status. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="‎">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Emily Boardman, Orange County, NY
<font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="‎">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Deborah, Newburgh, NY
Deborah has been living with HIV since 1994. She became infected through unprotected sex and a hard fought battle with drug addiction. Her story is among the most powerful as she relates her personal struggles to overcome drugs, stigma, and shame and channel her energy to improve her life and the lives of others who are living with the disease. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Daniel, Buffalo, NY
Originally from the Bronx, Daniel was an injection drug user and he and his wife were both diagnosed with HIV in 1986. He hid his status and continued to let addiction control his life until she died and he became very sick. He moved to Buffalo, sought treatment and support through peers and fellow Navy veterans, started working as a peer educator, and has worked on finding peace and acceptance for the loss of his wife. He has a son and daughter, both of whom are negative, and sets of grandkids. His work in the community impacting the lives of individuals who are battling with the same addictions and risky behaviors that he once did is what keeps him afloat and moving forward. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="‎">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Antonia, Orange County, NY
Antonia has found strength within herself and from loved ones around her to take her disease head-on and be proactive in maintaining her good health. In this interview, she cries out for all the young people who don't know how dangerous unprotected sex can be. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Damian, Indianapolis, IN
Damian comes from Puebla, Mexico. He shares his story of why he left his native country, and his journey with HIV since he's been in the U.S. Damian has found strength and hope with the support from others, and now works at Casa Mateo, providing that same support to others infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="‎">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Rosemary, Sullivan, NY
Rosemary is <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="‎">Joe</a></font>'s girlfriend and is HIV-negative. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="‎">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Richard, Redwood City, CA
I'm Richard. Born in Bradenton Florida. Currently living in Redwood City, CA. I'm an artist and hairdresser in life. Peaceful sort of person but a warrior's heart when it comes to fairness and justice. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="‎">READ MORE</a></font>
[img src=]Amelia, NYC
Amelia was born in Honduras and has been living in the U.S. for the past 4 years. She fled in order to pursue a life with more freedom and less victimization, although continues to struggle against harassment, persecution, and stigmatization here as well. She enjoys leading by example, demonstrating that members of the transgender community are smart, capable, and full of potential. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="‎">VIDEO</a></font>
<font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">SUMBIT</a></font>
[img src=]Eric, Erie, NY
Eric was diagnosed with HIV in December 2010. When he told his family that he tested positive, he did it like a band-aid - "right off." They had mixed emotions upon hearing the news - some cried - but most stood strong. Their attitude is very similar to Eric's, who is taking this disease head-on. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href=" ‎">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Barbara Wells, FNP, Dutchess, NY
Barbara Wells is a family nurse practitioner for HRHCare, a network of federally-qualified community health centers serving over 100,000 in New York State. Following her heart to have more direct patient contact, she left a management position as a RN to become a FNP, and has seen many changes in AIDS care over the years. She shares her experiences of hope and inspiration with patients. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href=" ‎">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Dr. Bryon Labrenze, Dutchess, NY
Dr. Labrenze is a physician for Hudson River HealthCare in Poughkeepsie, NY and has been treating HIV patients since the 1980s. He has seen the evolution of HIV from a veritable "death sentence" to a manageable "chronic" disease that, if treated, will have no impact on one's life expectancy. He gives a lot of credit to his team for helping patients to overcome the challenging substance abuse or mental health issues that some face which deter them from seeking treatment and support. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href=" ‎">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Alma de Rosa, Dutchess, NY
Coming soon!
[img src=]John, Sullivan, NY
John shares his incredible story of resilience and hope as he was diagnosed with HIV after 18 years in prison. He stresses the importance of getting tested and credits being alive now to the nurse who insisted he take an HIV test. He receives treatment and case management at Hudson River HealthCare, a federally-qualified community health center in New York State, and regularly attends Consumer Advisory Board meetings. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href=" ‎">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Antonietta, Panama City, Panama
Minister Antonietta, also known as "La Trensa" and "Dreddie", has been an activist in the fight against HIV & AIDS for decades, working primarily with women, often times who are incarcerated. She speaks 5 languages and now focuses her efforts in Central America, where people living with HIV and AIDS face enormous barriers to education and services. Dreddie has been living with HIV for more than 18 years and uses love and humor to educate everyone she comes into contact with about the disease. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="‎">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Ana, NYC
Ana comes from El Salvador and was diagnosed with HIV in 1996. She had ignored symptoms and worsening health until she became very sick and had to go to the emergency room. Despite the hardships that she encounters to this day with people who discriminate against transgender individuals, including her own father, she has found strength and support in the community of others like her and encourages everyone to love and protect themselves. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Thomas, Westchester, NY
Thomas was diagnosed in 1992 but didn't tell his family about his status until 1996 because of the stigma that accompanies HIV. He didn't know how he would be treated, and whether he would be an outcast. Today, Thomas is an active member of Living Together, a peer led support group in Westchester, as well as others. He has a giant family who love and support "Uncle Bubby." <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Jaime Ruiz Perez, Westchester, NY
Jaime Ruiz-Perez was born in Puerto Rico and raised in the Bronx. Jaime was first affected by HIV as an adolescent when many of his friends got sick and died. Throughout his career in social work and law enforcement, Jaime has always been involved with the HIV population, whether working with HIV-positive babies to substance abusers, and everyone in between. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]S.I.R., Austin, TX
Now reading all this you would think that I prolly whored it up and am deserving to have become positive. But to be honest, it happened the old fashioned way, a broken condom. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href=" ‎‎">READ MORE</a></font>
[img src=]Linda, Westchester, NY
Linda was diagnosed in 1995 after contracting HIV from her husband. With an addiction to crack-cocaine at the time and her belief that her death was imminent, she let herself spiral out of control. But more than 15 years later, bolstered by the loving support of her family, Linda got clean, took control of her health and well-being, and is doing great. She is a vocal advocate for all people living with HIV, with a special passion for speaking out on behalf of African-American women. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
<font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">SUMBIT</a></font>
[img src=]Dawn, Westchester, NY
Dawn was first diagnosed in 1992 while incarcerated. She had thrush and her doctors noticed that medication was not alleviating the condition, so they recommended an HIV test. Dawn attributes her lifestyle as a substance abuser at the time as the reason for contracting the virus. Overcoming her sense of hopelessness and helplessness, Dawn has found love and support through God and through her work as a leader in HIV advocacy. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Maria, Westchester, NY
Coming soon!
[img src=]Barbara Bennet, Westchester, NY
Barbara has been the Assistant Director of Education and Prevention at ARCS Westchester since 2008. She came to ARCS to help create the HIV Care Network after working in the field of substance abuse in NYC. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Paul Moccio, Westchester, NY
Paul has worked at ARCS since 2008 as a gay men's health educator, providing HIV and STI screenings and trainings. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href=" ">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Deborah May, Westchester, NY
Deborah's personal mission is to, wherever she can, have an impact on unnecessary suffering. Initially-involved to help her gay male friends back when a positive diagnosis meant a death sentence, Deborah saw over time AIDS become more and more a disease of poverty and minority populations. With a strong academic background in social justice, Deborah has worked since 1986 in the field, and is currently the training supervisor at ARCS. She believes that the discussion of AIDS now being called a "chronic" disease should be to comfort newly diagnosed persons, not to deter good, safe-sex practices. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Angel, Dutchess, NY
Angel arrived to the United States in 1997. In the following year he became ill with a mysterious illness that he thought was the flu. Three to four days later, his condition worsened and he was taken to the hospital. After a week, he was offered an HIV test that was confirmed positive. The following week, he fell into a coma. Thankfully he recuperated. After many years, he has accepted his diagnosis, is responding to medication, and taking care of himself. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href=" ">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Maria Muller, Dutchess, NY
Maria Muller es enfermera con Hudson River HealthCare, trabajando con los pacientes viviendo con VIH/SIDA desde 2000. Le gusta facilitar las cosas para los pacientes quien no hablen inglés y luchar para los sin seguro. Ella describe los medicamentos de hoy y ofrece consejos a todos con la enfermedad. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Joe, Sullivan, NY
Joe was born in England and has lived throughout the Northeast US. He's been living in Sullivan County for 10 years and with HIV for almost 25. He discusses his struggles over that time, and his hopes for the future. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Allison Dubois, Westchester, NY
Chief administrative officer – Hudson River HealthCare Allison considers it a “blessing” to work with the Genesis program at Hudson River HealthCare, serving individuals and their families who are HIV positive. She oversees the grants management, grants development, and program development for this vital program. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Bill, Dutchess, NY
Bill returned to NY from living in Costa Rica over the last 10 years. He became HIV+ in 2004. Bill believes that at this stage of the game, everyone should be tested. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
<font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">SUMBIT</a></font>
[img src=]Carmen Rodriguez, Dutchess, NY
Case Manager at Catherine Street Community Center Carmen talks about how miracles truly can happen in this line of work. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href=" ">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Caroline Jorge, Sullivan, NY
Caroline Jorge is a medical case manager at Hudson River HealthCare in Montecello, NY <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Christopher, Dutchess, NY
Christopher is a legal analyst originally from White Plains, NY. He contracted HIV in 1993 at age 23, and progressed to an AIDS diagnosis in 2004. For many years he was asymptomatic, and was grateful to be able to do many things. Christopher ran in three marathons while HIV+, which raised money for AIDS service organizations. He was also active in raising money for numerous AIDS Walks on both coasts, and for other charitable causes including Alzheimer’s and autism – raising thousands of dollars in all. Additionally, he completed his BA, and hobbies included hiking and running – plus one spectacular sky-dive from 14,000 feet. Christopher enjoyed working in both library, then legal, support services. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Dan Desmond, Sullivan, NY
Dan, an HIV Medical Case Manager and Adherence Specialist with Hudson River HealthCare, has over 20 years working with HIV patients. As an adherence specialist, one of his jobs is to make sure patients take their medications, and address the many different reasons which would prevent or deter them from doing so. One of his greatest joys is receiving a phone call every year on the birthday of one of his former patients who never thought she would be alive and well more than 10 years later. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Danielle Fisarro, Dutchess, NY
Danielle Fisarro has been working as a case manager for Catherine Street Community Center (CSCC) since October 2010. She arranges transportation for their clients to go to doctors' appointments, food pantries, housing services, over to Dutchess Outreach. The service is for medicaid and non-medicaid clients. Her biggest challenge is getting people to stick to going to their appointments, and her greatest joy is when she sees a patient like this: "There are a few clients that are very into their care, want to do well for themselves, and are very grateful for everything, and are much happier than when they first walked in the door. All you can do is sit back and say Wow.” Danielle and the CSCC staff are hoping to expand their services even more. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Debbie Nasura-Perez, Dutchess, NY
Debbie, an Adherence Nurse for Hudson River HealthCare, makes sure patients schedule and keep their medical appointments, stay on their medications, provides them with education, support, and encouragement. She is a liaison between the patient and doctor. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Dr. Roberto Corales, D.O.
Dr. Corales is the current medical director at AIDS Care. He is a graduate of Michigan State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Corales completed his internal medicine residency at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City and his Infectious Diseases training at the Cleveland Clinic. He joined the agency in 2000. He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and is an HIV specialist. Dr. Corales is the Principal Investigator for clinical trials investigations and has written and lectured frequently on a variety of HIV-related topics including: conference updates, new antiretroviral drugs, novel treatments for HIV, HIV Resistance and AIDS Care’s one-stop-shop model of care. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Phyllis Smith, Dutchess, NY
Phyllis, the prenatal nurse manager at Hudson River HealthCare in Beacon, has over 40 years in OB care. ”The whole point is that people need to get tested. Whether you think you’re a risk factor, or not. The goal is to catch, especially the pregnant ladies, people early in the pregnancy, so we do have a chance to take corrective measures, get them on medication, and have healthy babies at the end of the pregnancy…and mothers that are alive to raise these children. Years ago, none of this was possible.” <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Essie, Sullivan, NY
Essie was born in Greenwood, South Carolina, and raised in New York City. She moved to Sullivan County in 1980. In 1996 she was working one day, and began throwing up. At the hospital she collapsed with a mild stroke. After the stroke, she could not walk or talk. She believes that strength of the good Lord aided her recuperation and guided her to where she is today. Essie shares that disclosing her HIV-status to her family was very difficult. While it was difficult to accept for them, now they are more understanding and have pulled together to help her ever since. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Edna Fantauzzi, Sullivan, NY
Edna Fantauzzi, a medical manager for Hudson River HealthCare, has, for over 3 years, managed the lives of about 35 people living with HIV and AIDS. Before that, she spent several years working in prevention, including education and testing.<font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
<font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">SUMBIT</a></font>
[img src=]Elizabeth, Westchester, NY
Elizabeth has been living with HIV since 2000. She was diagnosed positive during a pregnancy test at which time she realized that her boyfriend was being unfaithful and transmitted the HIV virus. She strongly encourages everyone to put themselves first and practice safe sex. 12 years later, Elizabeth is a strident advocate in the community, involved with the Sharon Community in Yonkers, ARCS, Yonkers Providers Task Force, Cicatelli CAB, and more. She feels blessed to be able to empower others with her story. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Jessica Mack, Dutchess, NY
Jessica Mack has worked in the field of HIV/AIDS for 14 years. In 1999, her best friend died of AIDS. She has seen the field change dramatically since then, and wonders if he'd still be alive today if they had then what we have now. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Joanne, Dutchess, NY
Joanne has been HIV-positive since 1989. She is a single mother with a beautiful 9½ year old HIV-negative son. Her son was positive at birth, but with a tight schedule of antiretrovirals during pregnancy and 6 weeks of AZT and Baxtrum he tested negative at 3 months, 6 months, and a year. Today Joanne reports that he is a happy, healthy, and remains HIV-negative. She emphasizes the importance of regular testing. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]John Asuncion, Dutchess, NY
John works for the Catherine Street Community Center as a coordinator of medical case management services. Their mission is to promote and coordinate educational, health, and cultural programming that enhances and enriches the lives of individuals and families in the mid-Hudson area. They are committed to improving the lives of those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS with a medical case management program that provides support groups centered on treatment adherence, risk reduction, health education, women’s support, and counseling. Catherine Street also provides medical transportation. John is proud to work for this organization and considers it a privilege to do the work they do. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Lisa Reid, Dutchess, NY
Lisa started working with the HIV population 22 years ago. Things were very different then. She used to spend a lot of time with families talking about loss and dying and making arrangements for their children. In the 1990s medications came along and people stayed healthier for longer. Her conversations with consumers then changed to planning out the future. Now, a lot of her conversations focus on adherence to prescribed medications and making healthy choices. It is really helpful to have support to make those changes, and that’s when it’s important to be connected to a medical program. People need medical providers who they can talk to and trust. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Michael, Sullivan, NY
Michael, while in prison in 1994, was offered a pack of cigarettes by a friend to get tested for HIV with him. His friend turned out to be negative while Michael tested positive. According to his doctors, they believed he had been infected for over 10 years. Despite many trials since then, he has had an undetectable viral load for 3 years now. Michael believes that Sullivan County residents are still very ignorant about HIV and that HIV is very much stigmatized. He hopes that education and awareness can change these things. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Nalo Hampton, Dutchess, NY
Nalo, a sexual health education specialist, has been in the field of education for over 17 years and in health education for ten years. Her passion is educating youth and her community on HIV prevention, education and sexual health. As a medical case manager for the Genesis Program Nalo continues to work in her field of interest. She received her national certification from the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta Georgia and the Association Schools of National Public Health in 2006. In addition Nalo is the Executive Director of the SHARE LOVE Foundation. (Sexual Health And Reproductive Education); where she continues to mentor youth on the importance of health education. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Ramon, Orange, NY
Ramon is a fighter. He's fought his entire life - recovering from early hit-and-run accidents, inadequate education, drug addiction, and HIV infection. But with his faith, his family, and a team of doctors and case managers, Ramon is taking care of himself and his HIV, and is winning the fight. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
<font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">SUMBIT</a></font>
[img src=]Rusty, NYC
Rusty, works for the Leadership Training Institute. She provides training and educational resources for consumers throughout NYS regarding HIV care. Infected in 1991, Rusty discusses how love and friendship guided her towards a healthier and happier lifestyle. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Taanya Mannain, Dutchess, NY
Taayna, a Social Worker, has worked at Hudson River HealthCare for over 10 years, but has worked with HIV patients for almost 15. She helps patients to manage living with the illness. She entered into the field of social work because she always was in and out of hospitals growing up with a parent who had a chronic illness, and they also instilled in her a sense of community and volunteerism. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Wilfredo Morel, Westchester, NY
Wilfredo Morel, director of hispanic health at Hudson River HealthCare, has been working with the HIV population for more than 20 years. The memories of those who have passed provide him with the strength and humility to continue his mission of serving those infected and affected by the virus. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">VIDEO</a></font>
[img src=]Ben Barile, Dutchess, NY
Peer educator & Case Manager, Hudson River HealthCare Ben Barile has been living with HIV for over 19 years. While on the HIV planning counsel of Dutchess County, he was inspired to create the UPWORDS Voices living quilt to connect individuals living with HIV. His goal for this virtual quilt is to attract all those who are affected, and provide a setting where they can easily share their experiences/stories – both good and bad. Unfortunately, in 2011 there are still negative perceptions and stigmas around HIV. He hopes that the stories shared in this quilt will help educate and promote risk-reduction and awareness as well as testing. <font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href=" ">VIDEO</a></font>
<font size="14" color="#Fd1C16"><a href="">SUMBIT</a></font>

Welcome to UPWORDS Voices – A website dedicated to sharing the stories of individuals who are infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. UPWORDS is a virtual living quilt of people living and thriving with HIV & AIDS. The website includes profiles of individuals who are HIV-positive, their medical providers, affected friends and family members, as well as service providers. The powerful testimonies give voice and hope to overcoming challenges and rising above being defined by this disease. Our mission is to Educate, Empower, Encourage and Celebrate. Visit our site

 Unfortunately, in 2012 there are still negative perceptions and stigma around HIV. Hopefully, the stories shared will educate people about HIV, promote behavior that will reduce the risk of spreading HIV,  as well as encourage people to get an HIV test.