Join our webinar on May 19, 2020 at 1PM EDT. Register here!
Through the COVID-19 pandemic, staying in close contact with our HIV testing community has been a key priority for bioLytical. We’ve been asking three questions: how has your organization been affected, how are you coping, and is there anything we can do to help?
We know the effects of COVID-19 on our community have varied in major ways, but every single one of us has been impacted. Some organizations have had to close their doors temporarily, while others have made massive changes to their program delivery. One recurring suggestion was to find a way to connect HIV testers, and bring people together to share ideas, tips, and experiences.
So, we decided to hold a Community Conversation. Featuring four HIV testers from across the country, this webinar is a chance to learn how they have adapted and what they have discovered during this challenging period.
Who’s on the panel?
Tony Christon-Walker, AIDS Alabama
Tony Christon-Walker is the Director of Prevention and Community Partnerships for AIDS Alabama, a non-profit organization which devotes its energy and resources statewide to helping people with HIV/AIDS live healthy, independent lives and works to prevent the spread of HIV.
Tony is a long-time HIV survivor, and since beginning his work in HIV has always focused on stigma reduction in all its forms. Being very passionate about the plight of people living with HIV/AIDS, he feels that it is everyone’s responsibility to educate themselves and others as much as possible on HIV/AIDS in order to help prevent its spread and start erasing stigma. Fighting HIV is an intersectional fight. In order to eradicate the virus, we have to fight the following: poverty, educational disparities, homophobia, bigotry and racism. All of these play a part in the spread of the virus.
Since beginning work in HIV Education in 2013, he has realized how powerful and important it is to be open about his status. “People fear things that they don’t understand.” He is using his personal story and experiences to combat stigma, fear and ignorance wherever they exist. “There was a time when being HIV Positive was a death sentence, now the disease isn’t killing people, fear is.”
Jennifer M. Hadayia, MPA, Legacy Community Health
Jennifer has over 20 years of professional public health experience with non-profit organizations and state and county health departments in five states and the District of Columbia. She is currently the Senior Director of Public Health for Legacy Community Health, the largest FQHC in Texas, where she leads a 40-person department of Health Educators, Patient Navigators, CHWs, and RDs working in both clinic and community settings. Jennifer’s team is responsible for point-of-care testing, linkage to care, and health education on topics such as diabetes and hypertension, family planning, HIV and PrEP, nutrition and weight management, and pregnancy and postpartum health. Prior to joining Legacy, Jennifer was a Senior Policy Planner for Harris County Public Health, specializing in health equity and Collective Impact, and a Health Planner for the Houston EMA Ryan White Planning Council, where she developed the region’s first integrated HIV prevention and care plan.
Jennifer received a BA from Yale University and an MPA from Columbia University. She is a graduate of the Great Basin Public Health Leadership Institute, a past President of the Nevada Public Health Association, and a current Board Member of the Texas Society for Public Health Education. She is also a volunteer peer site-visitor for the Public Health Accreditation Board. Jennifer was born and raised in Houston, Texas, where she still lives with her husband and two dogs.
Jonathon Antle, The HIMM Project
Jonathon Antle joined KC CARE Health Center in May 2016 as Program Coordinator for The HIMM Project. He received a Bachelor’s of Music Education (K-12) from Southwest Baptist University in 2008, and then moved to Kansas City to pursue a Master’s of Music in Music Theory. After beginning PrEP in 2015, Jonathon quickly became aware of the lack of awareness and the stigma surrounding PrEP, both in Kansas City and across the country. This motivated him to shift careers in order to help the Kansas City LGBTQ+ community understand the new methods of HIV prevention.
The HIMM Project (High Impact Men’s Movement) is funded by CDC grant PS15-1502 for HIV prevention in the Kansas City Metro among men who have sex with men. HIMM promotes HIV prevention through regular testing, PrEP, PEP, HIV Treatment, U=U, and supportive services for those living with HIV such as Peer-to-Peer Education and CLEAR: Choosing Life! Empowerment! Action! Results! More information about The HIMM Project can be found at theHIMMproject.org.
Jeffrey Rodriguez, LA LGBT Center
Jeffrey Rodriguez has spent ten years working with the LA LGBT Center, and is the Associate Director, Community Health Programs Operations. This role oversees all HIV testing, STD testing, PrEP and PEP services for the center’s community of LGBT individuals and families in Los Angeles and beyond. With nine locations and almost 800 employees, the center provides services for more LGBT people than any other organization in the world, offering programs, services, and global advocacy.
Jeffrey’s devotion to HIV awareness stretches back more than 20 years. Originally from Michigan, Jeffrey first worked for a grassroots organization specializing in HIV education before moving into hospice care, providing comfort to people dying of AIDS-related illnesses until they passed. These experiences have driven Jeffrey’s passion for helping the community and empowering others with sexual health knowledge.
When is the webinar?
Tuesday, May 19, 1PM EDT
The webinar is now over. The recording is available here.