The first time I mentioned to my team that I would compartmentalize my time and serve at the HIV centre in Los Angeles California, they were obfuscated and beyond scared.As always when people hear the word HIV-it almost is like a “death sentence”. I went into the centre with the mindset of helping people living with HIV, bring smiles to their faces with my effervescent inquisitive personality and most importantly learn the survival processes. The Executive Director of Being Alive Los Angeles, Mr Gary Bowie, the manager Mr Jamie Baker, and the health educator Ms Becky Hardin all welcomed me with opened arms. They took me in the first day and ran through the entire processes and forthcoming activities in the organization with me.
In the picture with me are two awesome guys who manage the organization “Being Alive” Los Angeles. They were diagnosed with HIV over 20 years ago and through a system have managed to suppress the virus preventing it from going to full blown AIDS. For over a month, I compartmentalized my time and served with these survivals, helping HIV clients go through their activities with medication including medication that can prevent HIV if taken 72 hours after intimacy. I have seen so many HIV patients in my lifetime and I have learnt so much. On a daily, I would listen to the clients as they share their life transitions and how the virus was transmitted,I would see and interact with lots of beautiful people living with HIV as they walk in for their prescription, Acupuncture, facial rejuvenation, psychotherapy, chiropractic treatments, nutritional guidelines, hypnotherapy. I learnt about PREP- The new HIV prevention strategy which helps to prevent people from being infected.
From survey, 1 in 8 people are living with HIV and are unaware of their infection, more than 1.2 million people in the U.S are living with HIV infection..In Sub Saharan Africa, 24.7 million people are living with HIV with 1.1 million AIDS- related deaths.
There is need for more collaborations with pharmaceuticals, medical providers and the communities…we can get the same opportunity to fight this horrible virus inAfrica. Being Alive provides a comprehensive wellness and supportive care services that empower clients living with HIV to manage their health better.