WOCSHN members Brittany Brathwaite Kimberly Huggins published two articles for National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day (NYHAAD) observed on April 10. Below are two articles with an accompanying quote for you to read and share in your networks. Please contact Brittany and Kimberly directly for additional writing inquires.
As two young women of color born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, we have witnessed the devastating impact that HIV has had globally, within our communities and in our families. From the death of a family member to AIDS in 2010 to learning about HIV by wandering aimlessly into a mobile testing unit for a free metrocard, we quickly realized that though we are 3 decades from the inception of HIV in public consciousness, there’s still a gap in HIV prevention and education. This inspired an unwavering dedication to ending the pandemic through sexual health education, community mobilization, advocacy and empowerment. When we entered college, HIV/AIDS was one of the leading causes of death for young Black women in the United States. While studying at Syracuse University, we began our life-long commitment while working with Sex S.Y.M.B.A.L.S. (Sexually conscious, youthful, mature, black and latino students), which is a student-run organization committed to curtailing the spread of HIV and STDS, preventing sexual violence and promoting healthy sexual decisions. It was through this experience that we realized our passions and discovered our niche. This dedication has in turn translated into Public Health, Social Work and Human Sexuality graduate studies, adolescent health education, feminist youth work and reproductive justice advocacy. Through these efforts and commitments, we are holding ourselves accountable and actively being agents of change in our community.