This past Tuesday, I was incredibly humbled and honored to be invited to the White House as a Champion of Change. As I toured the White House and met with administration officials I couldn’t help but think about how far we’ve come and how much more work needs to be done to end the HIV epidemic.
30 years later, we are still struggling with stigma, increased levels of miseducation and deep-rooted fear of those infected with HIV. Just this week, while drinking with friends and colleagues, I was reminded of how much more work we have to do when it comes to educating the public at large about how HIV is transmitted. We ordered a huge drink (bucket sized), one that came complete with six fun neon straws. Folks were chatting, laughing and having a grand ole time. As the evening progressed, people began to forget which straws were theirs. One person exclaimed, “It’s okay if I drink from someone else’s straw—I’m not sick, its not like I have AIDS or anything!” That comment struck me like a lightening bolt… and I kept thinking, “Thirty years into this epidemic, and still, there are people that think HIV can be transmitted by drinking from the same glass or straw…”