How old were you at the start of the AIDS epidemic?
I was only 10 years old at the start of the AIDS epidemic.
How did you first learn about HIV?
I was told as a teenager my dad was diagnosed with HIV but at the time I don’t know I really understood what HIV was or the impact it would have in my life.
Where were you when you first learned about the AIDS epidemic?
Because I was so young I don’t recall when and where I was when I first learned about AIDS.
What does the 25th year of riding to end AIDS mean to you personally?
It means there is a place for me and others to continue a journey of learning, giving back, honoring those we have lost and being part of the bigger picture…..an end to AIDS.
What effect has the AIDS epidemic had on you or someone you know?
I was directly impacted by the AIDS epidemic. My dad died of AIDS related symptoms in 1990; I was 19 years old. I vividly remember my dad talking about using the most advanced drugs, taking part in “trials” to help find a cure and although my dad did everything he could to help research he lost his fight.
Have you personally experienced stigma related to HIV/AIDS?
Yes, defiantly! Being so young when I learned my dad was gay and HIV+ I quickly found the gay community was not an “accepted” group. It was because of the stigma that I stopped talking about my dad, his lifestyle and his illness. Only after I found AIDS/LifeCycle did I stop referring to his illness and death as “cancer.”
What would the end of the AIDS epidemic mean to you?
Personally, it will mean I have helped in a fight to overcome the stigma that ruled my life for many years. It will be the end of losing people we love and celebrate those who can continue to live a healthier life for years to come.