People Who Look Like Me is the embodiment of a bold new voice rising within us that we all have a role to play in ending the HIV epidemic. It is a collective of people from all walks of life, all communities, and all identities. Together we say that we can no longer look at HIV solely from the lens of those who are positive or negative, but rather as addressing the needs of our community as a whole. Whether you are a researcher determined to find scientific solutions and a cure to HIV, or you are an advocate fighting for equal access to healthcare, you are a community ally providing support for those who are more vulnerable, or you are a person affected by HIV, you are welcome to add your voice to this greater cause: #PeopleWhoLookLikeMe
Our collective story
Doctor and community advocate
Latina, mother, and community advocate
Community advocate, leather woman, sex educator
Community leader, a woman of faith, trans women advocate
Physicians and public health professionals
Mother and sexual health advocate
Professional and nursing mother
Married and busy professional
Grandmother and HIV positive
Creative, passionate, unapologetic, and ready to make a change
#PeopleWhoLookLikeMe believes that we now have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to end the HIV epidemic. We believe we have the most potent HIV prevention and treatment tools in history:
- From getting tested to using various prevention methods.
- By staying undetectable so that one cannot transmit the virus through sex.
- By building community-informed programs at our local health departments and community organizations that address health inequities, stigma, and medical mistrust.
We believe everyone can play a significant role in ending the epidemic in our lifetime. Will you join us?
Here are a few things we can do together:
Share resources with your communities. Talk about new scientific findings like U=U and PrEP. Talk about the importance of HIV testing for pregnant women and how early diagnosis can protect their unborn children from HIV. Use your social media platforms to address stigma, letting people know that people living with HIV are not defined by their disease. Talk about sexual health and raise awareness about HIV and other sexually transmitted infections... The language we use to address HIV in our communities is important. Access information on HOW TO TALK ABOUT HIV:
Early HIV testing can save lives. The only way to know for sure whether you have HIV is to get tested. CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 gets tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. If you have multiple sex partners, it is advisable to get tested more often. Work with your health care provider to determine how you can stay HIV-negative. If you're pregnant or nursing, talk with your health care provider about getting tested for HIV and how to protect you and your child from getting HIV.
Condoms, abstinence, PrEP, PEP, or TasP (Treatment as Prevention). You can now choose which prevention method works best for you.
Let's break down some prevention tools:
Condoms: Condoms reduce the risk of spreading sexually transmitted infections. Did you know that Baltimore City Health Department delivers condoms to people free of charge? Contact us, if you want to opt-in on our "B'More Protected" Condom Distribution Program!
PrEP: Did you know there's a daily pill that can prevent HIV? Yes, there is. PrEP is a form of HIV prevention when taken every day can help protect you from HIV. PrEP means Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis.
PEP: PEP is an emergency medicine that can stop HIV infection if taken as soon as possible, after coming in contact (or potential contract) with HIV.
TasP: Treatment as prevention (TasP) refers to the use of antiretroviral (ARV) medication to prevent HIV transmission. TasP involves prescribing ARVs to people living with HIV to reduce the amount of virus in their blood to undetectable levels so that there is effectively no risk of transmission of HIV. This is also called U=U, Undetectable=Untransmittable.
More than a million people in the United States are living with HIV, so you may know someone who is HIV positive. If your friend, family member, or co-worker has been HIV-positive for some time and has just told you, feel free to visit the Government's HIV website to learn how you can make a difference by being supportive.
Many social issues and needs can increase someone’s vulnerability to HIV.
More importantly, it's essential we all take care of our sexual health and wellness. Because honestly, if we don't care about ourselves, who will?