HIV AIDS Symposium

HIV AIDS Symposium


– Hello everyone, welcome. Thank you so much for being here. I know it’s Friday and we don’t
have a lot of classes Friday and students don’t wanna be in school when they don’t have a class so we appreciate you being here. I appreciate my colleague,
Mark Switz to be here. I appreciate all of you, and Romeo, thank you
so much for being here. Romeo is one of my students
who started this whole awareness of HIV and AIDS in our classes. So this event is in collaboration
with a wonderful panel. And we will introduce them. And the student club, Long
Beach, LBCC Justice Scholars, a group of courageous students
that started this movement in the past couple of years, and the Long Beach City Justice Scholars is a club that advocates
for social justice and formerly incarcerated students. And we had amazing events this semester, this is our final event, and I believe that this is
such a important, vital issue, that everyone needs to be aware. Especially for those of
us in the health field. But even if not in the health field, this is so important, the
subject is very important to have an information, education awareness and advocacy for. So I thank all of you, and our
beautiful panel to be here. I would like to acknowledge a couple of the people who are involved with Justice Scholars. Tyler who is taking a video right now, is the president of the Justice Scholars. And Jessica Martinez is a
wonderful treasury secretary and multi-purpose person. And at this point I would
like to ask Jessica Martinez to come and read a short bio of our panel. Thanks. – Good morning, all. Good morning to our panelists. I wanna thank you all for
coming out on a Friday morning. But we sincerely thank
you for your willingness to come out, and just gain some
knowledge, gain some wisdom. So I would like to
introduce our panelists. First up we have Mr. Nolan Ross Same-Weil. Nolan. (applause) At an early age, he become
involved with HIV/AIDS prevention and education work
though the Asian Pacific AIDS Intervention Team. Throughout his own journey,
he has been heavily involved in community events surrounding
the epidemic and stigma of HIV and AIDS. As a community organizer and advocate, he has organized several teams, represented at AIDS Walk LA and OC, and has raised thousands
of dollars for the cause. In 2012 he, himself,
was diagnosed with AIDS and AIDS Symptomatic Disease, and has became a survivor
of a near-death experience, specifically related and
unrelated HIV/AIDS diagnosis. Nolan’s inspiring story includes not only the stigma related to HIV and AIDS, but a seemingly positive family dynamic, quickly turned into heavy
shame, guilt, and abandonment that played a vital role in his
codependent search for love. He just found it in all the wrong places. Experimenting with alcohol and drugs, starting at an early age, he found himself hopeless
and lost without support and/or positive
community-based alternatives. The road to recovery has taught
him that even he can rise up from being a victim of mental, physical, and spiritual ailment
to becoming a survivor who has the passion, compassion, and empathy for a community
that he holds dear to his heart. Nolan is dedicated to
helping the community acquire the knowledge it takes to grow stronger with empathy in order to help those
who are still suffering. He hopes to achieve
this by being of service and sharing his story. Let’s give Nolan a round of applause. (applause) Next up, we have Jalen Olens. (applause) A newcomer, the HIV field,
with only working in HIV prevention for a couple of years. However, he has been working
with LGBTQ individuals for over seven years. He is passionate about
making a difference, in the lives of those he works with. Currently he works as a health educator for the P Power Project at Cal
State University, Long Beach. Working to increase HIV awareness and promote regular HIV
testing with young black men, who have sex with men, both on college campuses
and in the community. He hopes to continue working in the field, and ultimately wants to
reduce new infections amongst black individuals
in Los Angeles County. (applause) Next up, we have Mr. Michael Butron. (applause) Michael has worked in
HIV prevention, testing, and treatment for 25 years. At Cal State Long Beach,
he participated in several research studies that
were chosen by the CDC as evidence-based interventions, and presented outcome
data as international AIDS in Durban and Geneva. He has worked with health departments across the state of California, helping them to incorporate
these interventions into their existing prevention efforts. He as also participated in studies of HIV positive population at Cedars-Sinai, and
Harbor-UCLA Medical Centers. More recently, he has worked
with clients of the CARE center and implemented opt-out HIV testing in the hospital’s emergency room. Currently, he provides
PrEP services at CARE. Butron has also been
involved in the community as a member of the Long
Beach HIV Planning Body since it’s inception. He has also founded and facilitates a newly diagnosed HIV support group that has seen over 400
participants since its inception. (applause) We have Mr. Ismael, or
better known as Ish. (applause) Ish has been working
behavioral health services for most, if not all his career. His background is in medicine as a part of an accelerated emergency
medical technician project in 1997, where he learned
medical triage and trauma care. From there, he participated
in an accelerated medical assistant program, which would set the path to
becoming a registered nurse. During his first assignment
as a medical assistant, he worked with a physician
whose patient base was mono-lingual, Spanish speaking men who were recently diagnosed with HIV. In those sessions, he
learned what barriers this key population was experience, and felt a call to action to
become part of the solution of ending HIV and AIDS in his community. In a career move in 2000, he
became an executive assistant to the director of programs
and services for Bienestar, where he gained expertise and contacts within Los Angeles County
Department of Public Health. Learning about program development, funding opportunities,
and standards of care. In 2004, he was headhunted by
the Los Angeles LGBT Center to work on a partner,
non-fish-ant pilot program. Excuse me. Which is now the model
used for linkage to care, and partner services in
most Los Angeles County HIV prevention programs. In 2008, as a result of this experience, he moved to Long Beach and the
LGBTQ Center of Long Beach, where the collective experience,
knowledge, and contacts, allowed him to establish a
thriving HIV testing program, STI screening and treatment program, Transgender health services, and HIV positive support services for individuals impacted by HIV. Let’s give him a round of applause. (applause) Last, but not least, we have Mr. Tanu Ayu. (applause) The founder of Project ALOFA, a civil rights, non-profit, that advocates for the formerly incarcerated, in Asian/Pacific Islander LGBTQIA, gender non-conforming communities. His passion for social justice and equity involves volunteer work with organizations whose intent is to transform
the criminal justice system, and advocate fair policy change for the formerly incarcerated. His vision of creating safe spaces for the LGBTQIA community resulted in the first Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander peer support group at the
Long Beach LGBTQ Center, and Pacifica Pride. He was a steering committee member of Building Healthy
Communities, Long Beach, and now facilitates The
Coalition for Safety and Justice, with current work on
diversion in Long Beach. Tanu is a huge advocate for PrEP and PEP. And is grateful to speak on PrEP in the Native Hawaiian/Pacific
Islander communities. He is a program coordinator
for LA CADA Treatment Center, in Long Beach, and he
works as a court liaison and performs SUD screenings for clients in need of residential
treatment from the court system. He is also an accomplished
flute and saxophonist, and actively plays with the
Colburn Adult Symphonic Winds each summer. Let’s give him a round of applause. (applause) Well, I’m out of breath. What talented men, thank
you for coming out, and thank you. – Thank you Jessica.
(applause) I need to mention that this morning, as soon as Jessica came to the room, I just gave her the papers
and said can you do this? So thank you so much. One thing is that this
session is being videotaped, I want everyone to know, and also it will be on
Long Beach City College YouTube channel. So I will just give it,
I’ll leave it up to you how you want to do the panel. If you like to let the audience know, when do you want the
questions, the Q and A session, and I believe that Michael,
you’re moderating the panel. So thank you so much. (applause) – Hi everyone, my name is Michael. And you’ve already heard my introduction. When Nolan approached me to
do something here on campus, we had a conversation and talked kind of a little bit about
where we are with HIV today. There’s a conceptual
model that we’re using that’s called the treatment cascade. And if you think about a bar graph, where you have a large bar
and descending smaller bars, that’s kind of the conceptual
model that we’re using to address HIV going forward. And I feel that the panel,
all of us included here, are a personification of what that treatment cascade is about. So, to back it up a little bit, to give you a little bit of history, HIV’s been around for
a little over 35 years, something like that. We have about 70 million
people have been infected, I don’t have exact up-to-date numbers, but I’ll give you ballparks today. So about 70 million people
worldwide have been infected, about half of them are dead. We have different epidemics in
different parts of the world, affecting different populations, but I think it’s safe to say
that it’s disproportionate wherever you go. And it just affects different
disproportionate populations in different places. Here in the United
States, it’s 1.3 million, something like that, who’ve been infected. Over the past 20 or 30 years, it’s been about 40 to 50,000 people who’ve been infected every year. And that number’s been pretty stable. Which is not good, because we’ve
been doing a lot of efforts to reduce the numbers of new infections. And in the early days, a
lot of that was focused on behavioral interventions,
getting people to do things like use condoms, not share
injection equipment. And one of the promotion
campaigns is called ABC, abstinence, be faithful and condoms. So we’ve pushed a lot
of different behaviors and we haven’t seen the needle move. I think we’re at an exciting time because when Obama became president, they actually kind of took a step back and looked at the efforts and tried to address it in a new way that’s more medically based. And so the idea is you have
a certain number of people who are infected, like I said, it’s about 1.3
million in the United States. Here in Long Beach,
it’s about 6,000 people. And not everyone in that group
knows that they have HIV. So there are people who might be at risk and get tested annually, there’s people who don’t
think they’re at risk, and maybe they’ve never tested. But they’re operating
as if they are negative, ’cause that’s kind of the
default for most people. They think of themselves as
negative until told otherwise. That group of people who are infected and don’t know they have it, tend to be one of the
drivers of the epidemic and are creating a lot
of the new cases of HIV. So in the model, the way you address this, is you wanna test everybody. If we can identify everyone who has it, we can get them into treatment and they can make
adjustments in their lives so they don’t spread the virus. So that’s the first step. So here in Long Beach, I’ve tried to do the calculation. I know nationally, we’re at about 15%, does that sound about right? Who don’t know that they’re infected, and that number has actually gone down because of new initiatives
to increase testing. So we’ve made some progress in that area in the past few years. Here in Long Beach, I’ve
tried to do a calculation. It’s a much smaller population, so the calculation I got was 16 to 24% who don’t know that they’re infected. So we’re doing a little worse
than the national numbers. And I can’t narrow it down
to a specific percentage just because we’re dealing
with a smaller number and there’s a little bit of
variance in the calculation. So that’s something that
we need to step up to, and so I think, we’re gonna hear from Ish, and we’re gonna hear about
what’s been going on, as far as testing here in Long Beach. ‘Cause I think his is the premier program, that’s where I send everyone
to if they need a test. He’s open in the evening, it’s free. It’s like if you wanna have
an ideal testing program, you’re gonna have no barriers, and we have that in Long
Beach, which is a good thing. What’s interesting too,
is we have a lot of, majority of people who
find out they’re positive are actually finding it out through their private physicians. And so we can actually do
more in that area as well, getting more physicians
to do regular testing. The next step in the treatment cascade would be linking people to care. And that’s an important step and that’s where the most
improvement needs to be made. Right now, about half the
people who test positive get into medical care. And there can be a lot of
barriers that get in the way of getting somebody in front of a doctor and get lab work done,
and get medications, and things like that. It can be a social service issues, the things that I’m always thinking about are homelessness, drug
use, mental illness, all those things, if
they’re not addressed, it’s gonna make it really difficult for a person to get into
care and to stay in care and to stay on top of their medication and what they need to do. So hopefully we’ll be
talking about that as well, what we’re doing to address those issues, here in Long Beach. And then once we get people
in the door of the clinic, it actually works pretty well. I know in my clinic, the goal
of therapy is to get somebody with a viral load, that’s
the measure of the amount of virus in their body, to a level that’s undetectable
by the current test. So when we get them to that level, which, when they start on
meds, it can take a few months. They’ll get to that level. At that point, when they
have an undetectable test, they’re not gonna be
transmitting the virus. They don’t have enough virus
in their body to do that, and now the CDC has
acknowledged that recently. And they’ve signed on to the
what’s called the U=U Campaign, so Undetectable Equals Untransmittable. So the idea is if we test everybody, identify the people who are positive, get them into care, and
get them to undetectable, we can stop the spread of HIV. And we know that’s not
gonna happen overnight, so we have programs like PrEP, which is taking a pill a day
if you’re in a risk group, and that pill will keep you negative. And so we have other
tools in our tool belt, but it’s a very different
model that we have now that’s much more medically-based, doing HIV testing, doing
medication for people and things like that,
than the behavioral model. And we’ve seen, in communities that have really championed this new model, places like San Francisco, New York State, has made a really strong push to buy into this model and to promote it. Also Washington State
has done a great job. In those areas, we’ve seen
a decline in new infections. So we know it’s working, if there’s the political
will to get it done. So that’s kind of an overview, and I just wanna talk briefly
about the CARE Program, and what we do there. One way that I like to think about HIV is that it affects different
populations differently. And compared to a lot of other
diseases that are chronic and manageable like diabetes
or high blood pressure, HIV is actually a fairly
easy disease to manage. Once your on the
medication, for most folks, you’re talking a pill a day. The medications are much
easier to tolerate today with fewer side effects. You take your pill a day
or your couple pills a day, whatever it is, and then you go to the
doctor every three months for a checkup, and you get
your prescriptions refilled and you keep at it, and it’s a disease that’s more manageable than something like diabetes, where you have to do a lot
of major lifestyle changes, change what you’re eating, test yourself for glucose
several times a day, take medication, maybe
inject yourself with insulin. It’s a disease that has to
be managed from hour to hour. We have people who are doing
well, who are high-functioning, who have great insurance,
and they take the pill a day and they do great. And I don’t see them. Those aren’t the people that I work with. So the people that I’m
seeing in our clinic, tend to be the people who
are those other issues that I talked about. So at the CARE Clinic, we have programs, we have case managers, we
have people who do benefits, that enroll people in
programs to pay for their meds and to pay for their medical visits, enrolling people in
programs that meet their social service needs. We have our own housing office,
we have our own food bank, we have our own dental
clinic, we have in-house mental health staff, and we
have referrals to programs that help people with addiction, and hopefully we’ll hear
about some of the services that can address that for people. And we also have an
in-house housing office that can help stabilize people’s housing. So with all that kind
of wraparound services, we can take the most
vulnerable people with HIV and do better with them. So I think we’re doing a pretty good job. Right now, the number of
clients that are undetectable is about 90%. And just at the last staff meeting, we usually set ourselves a goal, and the goal has been 90%, and we met that for the past year. So we’ve changed our goal
in the clinic to 95%. So hopefully in the next
year we can do better. So that’s a little bit
about CARE and what we do. And I think, my feeling is that, I talked about the treatment cascade, so we will kind of go
in order from prevention to testing, to linkage,
skip over treatment ’cause I just talked about that. And then talk about some
of the wraparound services. And maybe we can hear about
what your experience has been through that continuum. So thank you. (applause) – Oh okay. You want me to stand? Hi, I’m Jalen again, just so ya’ll know. And I work more in the
prevention side of HIV. Because I work at Cal State
Long Beach as a health educator, specifically working
with young, black, MSM, who are negative, I do
have some positive clients, but we talk about
different things with them. And kinda like how Michael had mentioned, the landscape of prevention
has changed dramatically since the 70s and 80s. Because when HIV was first coming out, it was just thought of as
a white, gay, male disease in a sense, so condoms was the answer. Then when you found other
modes of transmissions, it turned to bleach kits for needles, and various harm reduction techniques to prevent HIV being
contracted amongst people who inject drugs. Then when it kind of saw more communities, you were targeting sex
workers with more condoms and other different techniques. But then, kind of, as some
populations started to decrease with new HIV infections,
other communities started to see an increase, specifically amongst black and brown MSM, especially in the past
probably 15, 20 years, that has been probably the
most hard-hit communities here in the United States, especially here in LA County
and Long Beach specifically. With last year, or 2016,
about 30% of new infections came amongst black MSM,
when they only make up about maybe 1% of the
population here in Long Beach. So clearly there’s a need for
some help in that community. And that’s where kind of I come in. And mainly when I work with
people in the community, it’s a lot of talking about condom use, and hopefully we can get to PrEP, because sadly for a lot of
young people in the community, PrEP can seem like it’s out of reach. Because when they hear about PrEP, and they hear about you have to go through the medical field to get it, if they don’t have insurance, that’s gonna be the first thing that’s gonna kinda turn them off from thinking about getting on PrEP if they don’t have insurance. Or when they do try to talk
about with their doctor, their doctors are uneducated about it. So that’s gonna be another
barrier to get them onto PrEP. So I focus more on the condom use, because that’s kinda seem where they’re more comfortable with and maybe I can get some leeway and try to promote that amongst them. And also, we also talk
a lot about testing. Because testing rates amongst black and brown MSMs
specifically is pretty low. So, we try to get people
tested about three times a year depending on how many partners you have. If you’re in a quote unquote
committed relationship, where you perceive it to be monogamous, but your other partner doesn’t
perceive it to be monogamous, you should probably get
tested more than once a year, but some people don’t see it that way so you kinda have to work
with them on that line and try to understand, just ’cause you perceive things one way doesn’t mean that’s the reality of it. So I focus a lot about
condom use right now, as the main prevention tool, but PrEP pretty much is the
new amazing thing out there because it’s a pill a day you can take, prevent HIV, I think 95% or 95 or 97%, prevention rate for that. And then also for people who
have had recent exposures or perceived recent
exposures, you have PEP. Which you can take within 72 hours, which is basically just
eff-oh-cay-shus as PrEP. And it’s the same medication,
but just taking it post-exposure rather than pre-exposure. But again, some people
just really don’t wanna go through that route,
and that’s kind of sad. But especially in black
and brown communities, there’s a lot of medical mistrust that you also have to navigate. We’ll try and promote that. And so it’s hard to deal
with that a lot of times because I can only do so much to try to help break down those barriers with the medical field, so condoms use is probably the major way, but trying to increase
awareness about PrEP is one of the major things
we do in the community. And also, about condoms,
there’s condoms in the back if anybody needs condoms, so
please feel free to take them. If you don’t feel like you need them, somebody you know might need them. So feel free to take them,
they’re good till 2022. So use ’em. But yeah, that’s kinda my spiel about what I do in prevention. But when I’ve been working
with young, black, MSM for the past two years, kind of, I don’t mean to say
they kinda play down HIV, but HIV isn’t necessarily
the biggest thing in their world nowadays. Us on this panel, we
probably see HIV as probably a major thing in people’s
lives to worry about, but sadly, especially for a
lot of black and brown MSM, that’s not the major thing in your life. If you have insecure housing or you don’t know where your
next meal is coming from, that’s gonna take priority in your life. You’re not really concerned
about HIV in this very moment, and that’s very real for people’s lives. When talking about HIV, you
can’t always talk about it in a sense of, well you’re
bad ’cause you’re not thinking about it as being important, you kind of have to work
around everything else that’s going on in these lives, and you kinda have to
tailor what you talk about and what prevention method
you’re gonna talk about with every individual
person you work with. Because everybody is extremely different. Just ’cause we’re all kind
of in the same community, kinda experiencing and
walking through the same life, doesn’t mean we have the same viewpoints and not everything’s
gonna work for everyone at the end of the day. And that’s kinda been definitely true for my experience here, working in HIV, is that everybody’s completely different. And since I do work
with students on campus, you would think they would
be a little bit more educated and a little bit more
open to things about HIV and learning more about
prevention tactics, and sad to say that they’re
probably the hardest ones to work with at times, because they feel like they’re educated, they know everything, but when you tell them that, you don’t know everything,
you kinda get some fight back. It’s a lot of times that I see people who I meet on the street,
or at bars or something, they’re a little bit more
open to the conversation rather than students. It’s always and interesting
experience working with students to try to break down their barriers and kinda understand that we’re all here learning new things. Things change every couple years. You kinda gotta keep updated information, and working with them is
lovely, to say the least. So, I’ve definitely had a lot of fun times these past years, working in HIV. I’ve been lucky to say
that none of my patients have testing positive
throughout the program period. But working with the few
HIV positive patients that I do work with, just kinda pushing it
towards the U=U campaign, like Michael mentioned earlier, because, I think it was
last year where the CDC and World Health Organization
finally kinda confirmed that because of the partner studies that have been going on
for the past decade or so, we can kinda finally say that if you are undetectable
and have a viral load, which under 200 or 400ish,
don’t quote me on that, but if you go on the websites,
you’ll see the exact numbers. You’re unable to transmit
HIV to someone else. Trying to get them to understand that, because a lot of times HIV positive people can feel some sort of stigma
when trying to have sex with someone else, or
someone else who is negative or of unknown status, and so trying to break down
that stigma with some people because if you’ve been living
with this for a couple years and feeling like every time you have sex, you could potentially pass it on, that could be kinda
damaging to your psyche and how you feel about trying
to navigate relationships in the future, and now trying to get
people to understand that ’cause you are undetectable,
you are staying on treatment, you won’t be able to pass
it on to someone else. And that’s kind of a motivating
factor to taking medication and use it as a motivation for
them to stay on medication, stay in treatment, keep on
the right track, in a sense, because that’s what’s necessary
to live in a healthy life and go with the normal path
of what we say people’s lives should look like when it comes
to relationships, you know. That was kind of a quick little
thing about intervention, but when we get to the panel discussion, feel free to ask more about
any personal experiences and stuff like that. (applause) – I’m not gonna get up,
’cause I’m comfortable here. Hi, good morning everybody,
thanks again for being here. My name is Ish Salamanca, I’m the Director of Health Services at the LGBTQ Center at Long Beach. And I’m gonna be talking
about the second column, which is pretty much testing,
or is it the first column? Well anyways, I’m talking about testing. And we’re talking about
stigma today, related to HIV, and stigma really does go across
all aspects of this cascade and when it comes to
testing a lot of people feel intimidated to come in, it’s like why do you need to go in? I’m not slut, I’m not having
sex with multiple people, I’m not a bottom, there’s so
many things that people think in terms of a stereotype
of why not to get tested. I’ve done testing in all sorts of aspects, we’ve done mobile trucks in the past, I’ve done small community clinics, now I run my own clinic
here in a community center. And I’ve heard a lot of stories. One of the stories that I
heard that’s related to stigma is the mobile units. I’ve heard black communities mention that they think that
mobile trucks spread HIV because they go into a mobile truck, you come out and you’re HIV positive. So they’ll stop getting
tested in mobile trucks because they’ve heard
throughout the grapevine, that that is actually spreading the virus versus stopping it. We can go back all the way to Tuskegee where people were actually
used in the syphilis study, so yeah, there is truth to that stigma. So us, as providers have
to work against that and have to kinda build that
trust in our communities. When we talk about sex, no one really talks about sex anymore. We don’t talk about bottoming,
we don’t talk about fisting, we don’t talk about breeding, we don’t talk about things in
detail when it comes to that, so when people start
thinking well I don’t need to because we don’t talk about it, I’m not gonna go sit in
a room with a stranger to talk about why I need to get tested. So at the center, we test
about 2,000 people a year, and we kinda diagnose anywhere from 30 to 50 people with HIV. So that’s specific to HIV. We do STI testing as well, and about one in four
people who get tested come back with an STD,
whether it’s gonorrhea, chlamydia, or syphilis. So, to give you an idea, this
is 20 minutes of your time where we collect a sample and our jobs, and it’s not just me, I have
a team of about five of us, need to, in 20 minutes, gain your trust, build a rapport, and get
into the questions about what are you doing right now
that lead you to get tested, and how do we keep you negative, or how do we link you to
care if you’re positive? It’s really quick. When I first started doing this, it took about a week to get results back and before that it took about
two weeks to get results back. So there’s a lot of quick
movement that needs to happen when it comes to HIV testing. We recommend people to get
tested at least once a year, but the more active you are,
the more you should get tested. It’s a free service, you
can come every month, every two months, as
regularly as you want. But what we’re noticing now, is that, like Jalen had mentioned, HIV isn’t necessarily on
the top of people’s list. People think well no, I don’t have HIV, I don’t do this, this or that. I need to worry about other things. So that, now, has become
our approach to testing. Where it’s no longer who
are you having sex with? Are you using a condom? Do you need condoms? Now it’s become where do you live? How are you feeling mentally? A lot of people feel depressed, self-esteem issues is a huge draw when it comes to unprotected sex or sex without a condom. I’ve heard stories where
people don’t feel like if they ask a person to
use a condom during sex, that they’re gonna
continue this relationship. I’ve heard stories where people will say, well you need to put a condom on in order for us to have sex, and the person says well I don’t want to, as opposed to saying bye, they’ll have sex with them
because they don’t think that they’re gonna have
sex or have a relationship with this person. I’ve seen other individuals,
especially women of color, I will ask them why don’t you
have this guy where a condom? It’s like, well he’s
gonna think I’m dirty. He’s gonna think that I sleep
around with other people. He’s gonna think that, yada,
and then the list builds because there’s this stigma
that when we talk about sex, when we talk about using condoms, that it means something else. I’ll go to the guys and be like, why don’t you wear a condom? Well I don’t need to, I
only have sex with her. She’s not gonna pass it
to me, I’m the insertive. There’s so many stories that I hear that our jobs now have
become more difficult. To not just stop HIV or
stop STDs from spreading, it’s now trying to stop that stigma of wear a condom, it’s not a big deal. Or come in and get tested. We have very few people who
come in with their partners and I love it when they take my advice, when they’ll come in
with someone, who’s like we’re gonna have sex, but
we’re gonna get tested first, just like you told me. But that’s one out of like 2,000 people that come in and listen to my advice. But I always try to get into their heads. I was like the next time
you decide to have sex, I want you to picture this
and the conversation we had. ‘Cause do you want to
get exposed to something? Do you wanna go into something blindly? And my job in testing and
the job that I’d like to pass on to my staff, is
have a genuine conversation. Start using words like
fuck and pussy and cock, so it becomes comfortable, and I can speak personally
for the Latino community, we don’t talk about that. We do not talk about those conversations. My mom is 60, dating a
23-year-old right now. God bless her, she has
the energy to do it. I can’t stand 23-year-olds. (laughs) But, I have been able to
now have that conversation with my mom, it’s like
you need to get tested, you need to test for STIs, you need to do all these conversations, and it’s because of my job that I’m that comfortable doing it. If you go back in time 20 years when she was having that
conversation with me, she was not having it. All she was having was don’t have sex. That was the answer, don’t have sex. So there’s a lot of stuff
that happens with stigma and HIV testing that my job now has become how do I normalize it? How do I make this fun? How do I make this part of a routine test? Which kinda leads me now to
STI testing, which we do now. People seem a lot more comfortable
to wanna give me blood, and give me urine to test for
things that are treatable, so I’ll just throw in an HIV test there to make it normal again. But now in there lies another
issue that I’m noticing is that people are
getting STDs a lot faster than they recognize, than they realize. One in four people have rectal chlamydia. One in three people have rectal gonorrhea. And does anyone have an idea of why those two match when
we talk about HIV and STDs, like where the connection is? So pretty much HIV
lives and thrives off of your white blood cells. That’s what it duplicates
to replicate itself and spread through your body. What happens when a
person gets an infection? When a person gets an
infection in your body, your body automatically
makes white blood cells. So if you have gonorrhea,
you’re body’s thinking we need to stop this gonorrhea, let’s make some more white
blood cells and fix that. Now let’s say that your
sex partner also has HIV, with so many white blood cells in there, you’re actually increasing your chances of getting HIV potentially, because your body is
living with a current STD. So a lot of people think
no, no, I’m good with HIV. Don’t worry about it, we’ll
just do the STD tests, I need to start talking
about having those. So doing routine STI testing is important. The other part is three site testing. A lot of times, if you go
to your doctor, they’ll say, you want a test for
gonorrhea and chlamydia? Here’s a cup, go pee in it. I don’t know about you,
but I use most of my body when it comes to sex. I don’t just use one part of it. So your throat, your rectum, your vagina, a lot of times people with
vaginas will pee in a cup, but your urethra is nowhere
close to where your cervix is where most of the penises go. So if you pee, most likely
you’re not gonna catch something. You need to do a cervical
swab and get up in there. So a lot of these people
think, oh the doctor did a swab or I went to go do my
pap smear, it worked. Unless you’re looking for specific areas, you don’t know that you have something, which creates this cycle, which I’m just learning
in the last few years that is what’s leading
this epidemic right now. Where people think, yeah I’m fine. I got tested, I peed in a cup, I’m good. But that person has it in their throat. And then they’ll go give oral
sex to their next person, now they have it on their penis, and then that person has
sex with someone anally, so you see the cycle, right? And everyone in that
group has gotten tested. The drawback is that they’re
just peeing in a cup, they’re not testing in
the sites that they need. Which goes to what Michael was saying, where providers these
days need to get educated. So my job in testing has now been, I can’t carry the burden
of the city of Long Beach, and doing three site testing by myself, I need to get everyone to start doing it. So one of the things that I ask every time I speak to people, is the next time you go to your doctor, and your doctor says pee in a cup, if you have the courage to be an advocate for your own sexual health,
ask them to swab you. Even if you don’t use your throat, even if you don’t use your butt, put them in that place where
you’re asking them to swab you. Because they’re gonna ask you why. And then you let them know,
I wanna make sure that I’m clear of STDs in all three areas that I may or may not use. And the doctor will look confused, just like he looked confused
when he asked me about it, and he’ll do research
or she’ll do research. And then that starts going. But when it comes to testing, I need all ya’ll to
either one, get tested, learn the experience,
share the experience. And if you’ve been tested,
tell other people that how are you getting tested? Is it your rapid HIV test? Did you get swabbed in your butt? Did you get swabbed in your cervix? And start using these
conversations very upfront. ‘Cause one of the things I think that, the reasons we’re here is the stigma. No one’s talking about this. There’s a lot of fear behind this ’cause when was the last time
that you talked to someone about your sex life? I had that conversation on my
Uber ride here with my driver. I was like, I wanna see
this whole stigma thing and see if it’s actually true, and I was like hey, when was
the last time you got tested? He’s like, why you asking? I’m getting ready for a
conversation that I’m having with a group of people, and he was like I don’t get
tested, I don’t need to. Why? I’m straight. There you go, you see that stigma there. That you think oh, well only
gay people need to get tested. So anyways, next time,
anyone you’re talking to, even your coffee maker at Starbucks. Ask ’em about getting tested. Have that conversation. And then tell somebody
else, so then that way, we can spread the conversation versus spreading the virus
and hopefully stop it. Well anyways, if you have any questions, I’m sure we’ll get to
that point at one point. (applause) – Hi everyone. Can you hear me? There we go. So, my name is Tanuoma’aleu
Nelson Ah You, I go by T or Tanu and I’m the founder of Project ALOFA, which is a civil rights organization that advocates for formerly incarcerated. So I’m gonna be talking a
little bit about barriers. So two years ago, I was invited
by the Wall Las Memorias to participate in a study for PrEP. And so I went to Olympia Medical Center to participate in that study, and found out that I had hepatitis B. So I was disqualified for that study. But from that day on, I was taking Truvada for my hepatitis B load, but I was also very active with a partner who was HIV positive, so it was kind of a
win-win situation for me. But at that point, at that
day I said you know what? I need to begin to be a
voice in my community. Because he shared with me that hepatitis B runs rapid with my Pacific
Islander communities. And so I decided to work
with our organization and our Native Hawaiian
Pacific Islander communities in creating access to PrEP and
also educating on something that we never, ever speak about. Within the Asian Pacific
Islander community, in 2014, there was a 17% increase year over year with the infection with HIV. So it was really important
for me to highlight that at Pacifica Pride last year, here at Long Beach City College. And to share some of the
difficulties and challenges with access to PrEP. And not only that, but
also to kinda destigmatize getting tested, like Ish just shared. For many of us, they didn’t
even wanna go into the truck or be seen going into the truck, or an institution or
agency that was testing. So last year at Pacifica Pride, we black-curtained a whole portion of Long Beach City College, so people weren’t aware of
you going in to get tested. And that’s the stigma too, about our Pacific Islander community. When I spoke with our interfaith leaders, the first thing that they said was well, we don’t want you to begin to, let our youth leaders begin to speak. And so I saw there that there
was really an opportunity for us to really educate, ’cause
they were very misinformed. They were still thinking
if you drank from my cup, that you would get HIV. And this was from our
tee-nas and our tah-mas, our faith leaders who were
spreading this around, saying don’t, you can get HIV if you drink or eat from his plate. And it was really important
for me to dispel that. And that’s why it was very intentional to invite them to Pacifica Pride last year where we had Micronesian,
Melanesian and Polynesian leaders who were educated
on the basics of HIV 101, but more importantly how
to access these services. And we see now that there’s
a need, definitely a need in north Long Beach, where
we have a high concentration of Pacific Islander communities, and right now there’s a
lot of sex work happening in north Long Beach. And it includes our Asian
Pacific Islander transgender, young, youth transgenders
who are working there. So I also facilitate, I’m
the program coordinator for Los Angeles Center
for Alcohol and Drug Abuse and we just opened up a site
there in north Long Beach. And we talk about access. And I see them everyday because they sleep outside of my agency, they recharge outside of my agency, and our agency is kind of
being known as the safe hub. I don’t chase them away. But we were very fortunate, most recently, to partner with UCLA, and I know we are bringing
the ATN program to our agency because there’s a need for
services in north Long Beach, but more importantly
there’s a need for people to support people and to speak about it. And I know ATN’s gonna
be at the center as well. They’re at the center. And so now that we have one at the center and one at north Long Beach, I’m really excited about this because this begins conversations, right? This begins to break
out of the mold, right? What Ish is talking about,
using words like fuck, cock, pussy, right? We go beyond that where we’re at, beyond fisting and cum-dumping, whatever you else wanna talk about. But Joel, and the sinners,
bringing that conversation with youth from Jordan
High School to our agency. So we’re beginning this
conversation at our agency at a young age, and ATN is
also targeting our youth, 12 years old and up. But more importantly, we
begin to now have access. We begin to now provide these spaces to initiate conversations
and peer support. And for me, as somebody who
has been formerly incarcerated, I know, 12 felonies and so
many redemption of my points at Twin Towers, that I have
been in 9,000, 5,000 floor where over half of us
are infected with HIV. And so we have a unique
program in Twin Towers where we distribute condoms
twice a week to our inmates. Even though there’s a red
sign on there that says engaging in sex will give
you a 288 sex offense, they understand that we’re
still gonna have sex in jail. And so one of the reasons I
also advocate for that too is ’cause a very dear unicorn
friend of mine was infected. And contracted HIV by
having sex inside there. Went in and this unicorn was
negative and came out positive. So we know that we have
a lot of work to do, especially even our Pacific Islander men, coming out of jail, coming out of prison, they’ve had sex with men
and they’re coming out into our communities, and not
sharing with their partners that they are infected. And that’s the truth. We have our lifers who are coming out on sensitive needs yards, right? And they have been engaging
with sex with men inside prison. They don’t wanna speak about it. But we now have a group at LA CADA that supports formerly
incarcerated men on the down low. So these are the things,
these are the barriers that people don’t wanna talk about, but these are efforts that
we are intentionally making so that we are reaching
communities to prevent this. And we talked about, I think a year ago with Mark McMullen, saying
that we had the highest rate in Long Beach,
the city of Long Beach, with HIV, the prevalence
rate with HIV in Long Beach. And the Native Hawaiian Pacific Islanders was the fastest growing demographic. Asian Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiian Pacific Islanders, and of course being
incarcerated with that down low was part of the reason as well. And so we know we have
to make every effort to destigmatize with our communities who have been formerly incarcerated, as well as our faith leaders,
as well as our youth, to come together. So at the center on Tuesday nights, we have an intergenerational
Pacifica Pride support group that educates, stimulates, and also allows anything under the umbrella
to be talked about. So if you wanna talk about
that you just got fisted or whatever else, yeah,
we can talk about that. If you went to the
bathhouse, I’m just saying. If you went to the bathhouse
and you just had a weekend of party and play, then come over there. But this is what we need today. We need to break outside of the shell. We need to be intentional
with opening spaces for courageous conversations. And that’s how we destigmatize
in our communities. If you’re ashamed because
you just got a blow job from Tom, Dick, and Harry,
Mary, Jane, and Sue, then guess what? You need to come to Tuesday
nights at the LGBT Center so that we can process that with you. You need to begin to speak about things. You need to begin to be courageous, and sharing with people
what services are out there. And that was my duty, and
I’m sweating like a pig ’cause I’m a little nervous. But I’m very, very, very
adamant about being a voice in my Asian Pacific Islander,
Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander community, because I see who’s
tokenized in PrEP campaigns. It’s my transgender, Pacific Islander who’s on these PrEP campaigns. But we need to have PrEP campaigns that people that look
like me and you, right? We need to have campaigns
that go out there and speak, and showcase the regular. ‘Cause if we continue to
have campaigns that are just you’re flamboyant person,
or your transgender woman, we’re not doing our jobs. A good percentage of who’s being infected and who is infecting, are the ones who aren’t getting tested, and the ones that need
to come out and share. And some of these barriers
are just shame, guilt, right? And fear. And being an STD counselor,
I hear it all the time. Hear it all the time. The reason they wanna go out, for some of my community members, they just wanna go out and
have sex one more time. Just wanna go out. Just wanna go out and
hit it one more time. And sex takes them out all the time. So we’re very intentional. If you’re gonna go ahead and have sex, take your medication, take some condoms, take some lube and go. Make sure you have your
medication with you. We can’t control that. But that’s part of our harm reduction. If you really are adamant
that you wanna go out there and use again, take your
medication with you. Because the first thing that goes is you don’t care about nothing. You’re not gonna be
taking your medication. You’re not gonna be having safe sex. We’re like okay, go ahead. Have one more run, but at least
take your medicine with you. These are some of the barriers, you know I talked about
access, I talked about stigma, but also those of us who
are engaging actively, in multiple partners, I
think we need to begin to start surfacing that
these are activities that are normalized. I’m a hoe. I go out and I don’t have
a one-person relationship. But at least I speak about it. I’m very honest. A lot of us sit here and we’re like. Girl, I can clock your T in a heartbeat. But it’s important that
you begin this conversation because this is the only way
we’re gonna destigmatize. So have these bold and
courageous conversations and build a new unicorn. (applause) – Can everybody hear me? Okay, my name is Nolan Ross Same-Weil, and I’m a community advocate. And I’m here to share my experience with the Continuum of Care, as well as my experience
in getting infected, and how the stigma related
to my own personal story, and how it kept me and my disease, not just of being diagnosed with AIDS, but also with alcoholism
and addiction as well. First and foremost, thank
you Professor Madavi for allowing us to be here
and to speak to your students. (applause) Thank you to everybody on
the panel for being here, it’s awesome, I got to
meet a lot of great people throughout this process. And continue to have those relationships, it’s great, so thank you. So my journey, as you can tell, I’m Asian Pacific Islander. I grew up in a typical Filipino family. My mother is a nurse, and my
dad’s a computer engineer. We grew up in a typical
family in North Downey. So we had everything that we needed. Growing up, I had
everything that I wanted, I was kinda spoiled. And there always was this whole stigma, just about emotions in my family. If you were sad or if you
were angry or anything, you didn’t really go to
your parents for a hug, you know what I mean? Having them tell you they love you, was kind of not there all the time. Especially the physical
hugging you and kissing you and stuff like that. So growing up, we learned
to be what they thought was independent and a strong person. So growing up, towards middle school, I remember myself feeling
a little bit different. As a lot of us do. I had feelings for the same
sex about my seventh grade. And I remember at that moment, it’s funny because I remember
have feelings towards, it was a drummer in band. And I was like oh. And I remember just looking,
and my heart started beating, I starting having butterflies and then I also knew that it
was also like my heart dropped at the same time, because I knew as soon as
my parents would find out that they wouldn’t accept it, that I would be shunned by my family. And that hit hard for me. Because going home that
night, for about a week, I cried every night. I cried every night and I prayed
to God to change who I was. You know what I mean? I just knew it, I knew
that they would hate it. So instant shame, and this wasn’t coming
from my environment, but just coming from the stigma of what I thought my parents
would feel towards me. I started learning how to keep secrets. So as I grew up and I
had my first relationship with my partner at that time, I learned how to keep that secret. We had letters that we’d write
to each other, love notes, and one day my mom
called me into her room. And she said can I ask you a question, and I go, oh no, this is it, you know? And she goes, are you gay? And I go, well, if I said
yes, would you still love me? That was my question to her. And she said yes, she
paused and she said yes. So I thought everything was good. For about a week, I still
felt a looming cloud over my family. And then after about a week I came home, I think I was working at
In-N-Out at that time, but I came home and I just remember her pressed up against a
wall in my sister’s room, crying hysterically. And my sister was trying to console her, she kicked my dad off of
her, he fell on the floor and he’s like look what you’ve done. So, yeah. He was like, look what you’ve done, you know, like what am I supposed to do? Up until that point, me
and my mom were very close, were very close. We’d do everything together. I’d lay in her lap, sometimes
I’d sleep with her in her bed. And then at that moment, even until 17, I would just wanna be by my mom. At that moment, my life changed. It was 180 degrees, my
mom did not speak to me. My mom did not speak to me. And I remember after that moment, I was in my room, and maybe
this was about a week’s passed, and I was crying, and I was rocking myself in front of the TV, not
really watching the TV but just crying, rocking myself. And then my mom’s standing at the door, staring at me with her arms crossed. And just looked at me for a couple minutes and just walked away. That was tough. That was really tough. So, yeah, as time went on, I just learned how to, I just tried to live
life without my parents. I was running, I was already
running at that point. I was trying to keep secrets. I broke up with my ex, all my friends who identified as LGBTQ, I stopped talking to them. I tried to be the person that
my parents wanted me to be, I was sent to conversion
therapy, that did not work. You know that did not
work, but it was tough. So I started to lie and
I said that I had to work when I was hanging out with people that were probably not the best
positive role models for me, but they were the only
people that was there. At that time I started
experimenting with alcohol, which progressed to drugs,
specifically methamphetamine. When I used methamphetamine,
it started off with a hookup. And it never stopped. So the only way that I could
find any type of happiness, or quote unquote happiness, or any type of quote unquote joy in my life at that time, was to use drugs, have sex,
and find other alternatives than to be at home. You know, be at home with my family. I remember one day, after
several years of my mom not talking to me, she told me, she’s like,
one day she’s like, you know by the age of
30, you’re gonna have HIV. That’s the only thing she said. And I remember looking at
her and I was speechless. And I was like, that’s
all you have to tell me after all these years? A couple years passed by and at age 29 I was diagnosed with AIDS. So I’m 35 now, so probably
that was what, six year ago? So 2012. And I remember in April of
2012 I started losing weight, as much as I was eating,
I started losing weight. I’m usually about 160 pounds, I don’t look like that now,
because I’m on Weight Watchers. (laughs) And it’s working. So back then, I was usually 160 pounds and I started progressively losing weight. In April of 2012, I was
wasting, I was wasting already. That means you just start losing weight. My throat started hurting tremendously. I started getting black
lesions all over my body. Which is Kaposi sarcoma. I had candida, I had thrush. And I pneumocystic pneumonia, so microorganisms living in your lungs. And I remember my aunts coming. They knew that I was being stubborn, and I was very afraid,
because as you mentioned during the introduction, I used
to work for AIDS prevention. And at that moment, when
you’re in your addiction and when you’re in your
active using, you don’t care. You know what I mean? I knew what was going on,
but I didn’t wanna know what’s going on. I was afraid about my
family, I was running, who am I gonna stay with? Where am I gonna go? You know what I mean? Although I was living under their roof, it was like I was not even there. I was a ghost already. I became bedridden. So I was bedridden from maybe May to July, still using drugs, still running. My family came to visit me, you need help? You wanna go to the clinic? Things like that, and I still said no. It wasn’t till the very last minute, I mean the very last minute
where I couldn’t breathe, I just couldn’t breathe. Standing up and going to
the restroom was tough. I was fainting. I fainted and the lesions got darker and my skin was being raised on my face. In 2012 I barely could walk. I entered that clinic and
paramedics took me out and took me to Martin Luther King, and again, my whole world
turned upside down again. Talk about being lost already. Being at Martin Luther
King, not having insurance, being on Medi-Cal, Medi-Cal was just a whole
different thing for me. I thought I knew stuff. I thought, I considered myself educated, but at that moment, I
thought I knew how the whole Continuum of Care worked, all that stuff. But I was thrown to the wall. I had no idea, I had social
workers assigned to me. I was in a wheelchair. Leaving that hospital,
I couldn’t walk anymore. Standing up wasn’t even,
I couldn’t even walk. I was about, I’m 162 pounds,
so I was about 107 pounds. I had no muscle, so I couldn’t even walk. And at that moment you think, all right, maybe I should change the way I am, change the way that I live my life. But the shame and guilt was
so strong at an early age and it carried on and it manifested itself into drugs and alcohol, manifested itself into
HIV and AIDS diagnosis. And then it continued on. It wasn’t addressed. So when I got out of Martin Luther King, I still had all that ailment,
mental and spiritual ailment. My mom stayed with me for
a couple months after, she took some time off
and she actually nursed me back to health. And I still had such a deep
resentment at that time, that as soon as I was able
to get up and start driving, my ass was off and running again. First thing I did when I could drive, was go pick up some more dope
and get back into my disease, and then just go from there. I remember thinking to myself,
I can’t fix any of this. There’s nothing I can do
that’s gonna change this. Nothing I can do that’s gonna make my parents really love me. ‘Cause even though she stayed
with me for two months, I don’t really think she loves me. So, it took me off and running, and I think by the grace of God there was some type of intervention later down the line with
who is my husband today, asked me to go to meetings. And I entered rehab, and I had to go through rehab three times. You know the first time
that I went through rehab, I had no idea why I was there. I was like, why am I here? You know what I mean? I went to an indigent rehab
right here in Long Beach, called Redgate, I don’t
know if anybody’s familiar. So I went there the first
time, I was there for 56 days. Going in there, I remember
trying to do everything perfect. I was their golden child in rehab. How do you become a golden
child in rehab, right? But I never had any, I
didn’t get in trouble, I didn’t do anything like that. But really, that was just
another manifestation of my disease, I didn’t
wanna feel any emotion. I didn’t wanna get in trouble because I didn’t know how to
deal with being in trouble. I didn’t know how to
deal with being in fear. You know what I mean, so I
try to do everything perfect so that nobody had anything
bad to say about me. So leaving there, that didn’t help. I mean it opened my eyes to seeing that part of the community
that’s dealing with this, but I really didn’t know why I
was there, I didn’t identify. Second time I went, I went
through the Gerry House in Orange County and I
was there for 90 days. The Gerry House is a treatment center that’s specifically for HIV and AIDS, as well as people who are IV drug users. So I went there, I
stayed there for 90 days and I found out that I was codependent. A lot of the shame and guilt was derived because a lot of codependency, if somebody jumped, I jumped. I didn’t have any self-worth. I didn’t know how to love myself. If somebody smoked cigarettes, I decided to smoke cigarettes too. So somebody went out, who was my first friend at that center, and then I was like if he
can’t do it, I can’t do it, and I went out. I entered rehab one last
time, went back to Redgate, and this time I lost everything. I lost the support of my
family, I lost my job, I lost my partner, I lost everything. The only thing I really had
was a car, and that was it. So I went in there, I did
it for myself this time. I did it, I stayed there for four months, and I took things very slowly. I took things very slowly. My HIV and AIDS was, at that
time, already manageable. Because since, as much
as I probably missed, there was times when I
missed my medication, but for the most part I
was pretty good with it because I knew that that was
something extremely important, that I had to take it. So it was manageable. But I can’t forget lots of
the reasons how I got it. So I went through this
rehab, this last time, I stayed there for four months and I took things very slowly. I volunteered at the treatment center, at Redgate for seven months, afterwards, while staying in
sober living across the street. I got my dollar meal in the
morning, my dollar meal at lunch and my dollar meal at dinner time, and I found myself pursuing
a life working in treatment. And now I work at the Anaheim Lighthouse. I’m the alumni outreach
representative there. And we help a lot of
people who are dealing not just with addiction and alcoholism, but there are also people
in our communities too, who are struggling with HIV and AIDS, and not many people relate, so I’m glad that I’m
somebody that can be there compassionately, with empathy, and to tell them a little
bit about my journey. I’m a little over two and
a half years clean now, so I’m sober now, that’s great. (applause)
That’s good, thank you. I consider myself a
survivor, community advocate, and if there’s any way that I can help with any type of situations, but especially HIV and
AIDS, I’m all for it. So that’s my story, thank
you for letting me share. (applause) – So I’m thinking that,
for the sake of time, if there are any questions,
maybe we can take questions. But one of the microphones,
does this work or not? We can have one mic
for questions, Jessica, if you don’t mind to
maybe take one mic around. And then one mic, maybe
the panel can share. So maybe at this point we
can open up to the questions. (man talking off mic) – [Michael] We need
the mic for the camera. – [Tyler] There should be green on top. (laughter) If not, I can still here
you if it doesn’t work. – Yeah I did a report on HIV, and men on the down low. And what I came up with, a lot of the youth that
was getting infected, are you doing anything to
address that with the youth? – I don’t work with people
under the age of 18, sadly, only because I’m not
allowed to work with people under the age of 18, at least officially. But I work with 18 to 24 year olds, so it’s basically young adults, people who are hopefully,
or I wouldn’t say hopefully, but most people who are kinda
starting their sexual career during that time period. And it’s definitely a lot of
working with young, black, MSM and sometimes who don’t
necessarily identify as gay, might identify as being on the down low or something like that. So basically, we just try to talk about using condoms, potentially
PrEP, possibly PEP, if it needed potentially. And then also talking to
your partners about sex. So I definitely do with with
a lot of young, black, MSM in the community here in Long Beach. And then also in the Carson area as well, I see a lot of young, black,
MSM who are kinda starting out, who don’t know anything because, again, in the black community
we don’t talk about, just gay issues in general,
is what’s the big no-no in many black communities. So I do work with them and try
to get them to talk about sex and not necessarily
identify with being gay or with the community, but talk about if you’re
gonna have sex with men, this is what you gotta do, this is how you navigate,
all that kinda stuff. And it’s kinda sad that in this community, we do have a lot of infections ’cause if we kinda stay
on track right now, one in two black MSM
will be infected with HIV at some point in time in their lifetime. Which is kind of on the lines with I think, Sub-Saharan Africa HIV rates. Which is kinda crazy to think
about in the United States, where we like to think we’re progressive. – We also have a program, then ATN program that’s at our agency and at
the gay and lesbian center. And it’s the Adolescent Testing Network. So it’s from 12 through,
I think 24, 12 through 24. So there’s opportunities
if you know of anyone that wants to be there. – And then one of the
things we do at the center is we have a MYTE Program. It’s Mentoring Youth Through Empowerment, and we go through all the schools. We focus on Long Beach
Unified, but we don’t just talk about sex, we don’t just
talk about HIV prevention, we talk about gender expression,
we talk about sexuality, where we give people different options. ‘Cause I think what happens with people who identify in the down low, are because they don’t feel
like there are other options. So we talk about gender
fluidity, sexual fluidity, where you don’t necessarily
have to identify as gay or bi-sexual, where we talk
about it in a more fluid sense. So we’re starting to see a lot of kids who identify as queer, they’re taking that word themselves now, where it’s not necessarily
gay or straight, it’s just different. We’re trying to, with that program, trying to plant that seed,
where you don’t necessarily have to pick at that age, which I think, in our generations,
have kind of led that. Where it’s like okay, well
I’m not gay, I’m not straight, so I’m just gonna keep it on the secret and I think we’re trying
to have those conversations through either the
gay-straight alliances, GSAs, or any kind of club that will allow us to have that conversation. But we try to have that
side of the conversation, where you don’t have to pick, and you don’t have to be ashamed if you’re not something else. But I think it’s a
collective of different kind of conversations. – I think this question
is for all of you guys. I work for Safe, (chatter off mic) I work for Safe Refuge and we have had, like yesterday, we had
someone from the clinic come in to talk to us about
PrEP and PEP and all that. And after that, what I realized what that 90% of the senior staff
didn’t now anything about PrEP or PEP. We talked about it all day. But this is your staff
and then you work in the treatment center, you
have to do the curriculum, that’s all you do. This is not the people
that really need them, the information, to know about PrEP. It doesn’t mean that if you come and teach the staff about PrEP, it’s
gonna go to the clients. ‘Cause they teach the curriculum, nothing else but the curriculum. Is there anything that can
be done from your agencies that you can target the clients? Because me knowing about the information doesn’t help the client
that I go in everyday. I try and I realized
that I couldn’t even give this wristband to the client, I have to seek permission to do that. So if this information, it benefits them, then you come and teach
us, as staff members, it doesn’t go down to the client. Is there anything that can be done, maybe that can work with, if it comes from you,
I can help with that. And negotiate with the director
and say this is important, but get the feedback, the
support from you guys. So I can reach the client, I wanted to bring it past with the client. But I couldn’t, because I
have to go to this person, this person comes back to me, I have to go to my boss,
my boss comes back to me. I didn’t bring the clients
today, I wanted to. It looked like it was
possible from the beginning, but I’m here by myself. So if you guys could help us, if there’s anything you
could do to help us. – So one of the biggest
things I always do, I never give answers, I never give advice, I always just pass it back to you. I save my agency hundreds
of thousands of dollars on marketing because I don’t depend on having signs up or having conversations. I pretty much, everyone in this room now has some information, and your jobs now, becomes
to spread that information. So I would say if you can
get one or two clients to listen, and maybe
participate in to these, or just have that conversation and have them talk about
PrEP, I think that is the best way to get the message out because I could sit down
and tell you every benefit, backwards and forwards, of PEP and PrEP, but you’re hearing it from a provider. You’re hearing it from
someone that’s negative. You’re hearing it from someone who, whatever you think of me,
it’s not gonna sit in. But, if you tell another client who’s in the same program, that message tends to
sink in a little better. So my thing is, everyone in this room knows a little bit about it, or if you want to know
a little bit about it, then share that information
with your family, your co-workers, your
clients, your roommates, and have that conversation. I think that’s the best way. ‘Cause even, I think, if you
would have brought them here, they probably would have fallen asleep, they probably would have gotten bored, because they’re just listening versus having a conversation about it. So I would say the best
way, in my opinion, would be having them
have that conversation. If someone’s already on PrEP, send them out to talk to another room, or another set of people, and just having that conversation going. ‘Cause that’s how we get our clients. We don’t promote, we don’t do anything. We just do a great job and then
those people tell everybody to come in and get tested. So I think that can apply to PrEP as well, where we just have a
relationship with Michael, where I don’t necessarily need to just, here’s a piece of paper,
go meet this stranger. They already know everybody,
’cause we all work together, pretty much seamlessly. So I would say if you
wanna get that message out, just have people start talking. – I just wanted to add onto
that, when talking to people, also pick non-queer-identified people. Because PrEP tends to
be a queer conversation, or happen in LGBTQ plus spaces. And that leaves a lot
of people outside there, especially people who don’t
identify with the community, like black and brown MSM are
afraid to identify as gay or don’t wanna identify as gay, we kinda have to be more
strategic in educating people who aren’t part of that
identity to get the word out. Because those are also people, especially in the black community, older black women tend to be trusted more by young, black men. Educating people who kinda have trust in their identity already
in the community, you know. – And then, with our agency, LA CADA, we’ve been very intentional. Since we are working with
the LEAD Diversion program with the city prosecutor and
Long Beach Police Department. So those who have been
caught with sex work are now referred to our agency, where we provide the HIV counseling, the HIV education and we’re
including PrEP as well into that case management. But more importantly, it’s
all about word of mouth, like our panel is saying, Empower one each one teach two. – [Ish] Is there any other questions? – [Jessica] So, once we begin
to have these conversations, where can we direct, I know you mentioned the CARE Center, is that a Long Beach-based program or is it nationally? – Here at Long Beach and
Saint Mary Medical Center. I think this panel’s a good example that I think anybody at this panel can refer to any other
agency at this panel. We’re all familiar with each other, with the work that we do. If I get a client, I’m sending
them over to other people. We’re a close community, so
you don’t need a specific point of entry, I think is
the ultimate thing to say. We’re all interconnected
in a pretty good way. So if somebody just accesses any services, they’ll have that conversation, and they’ll get other
stuff that they need. – To echo, you pick what the person is most comfortable with. So you have Tanu who’s
in north Long Beach, who works with a specific demographic, you have Cal-State Long
Beach, you have the hospital, you have the LGBT Center. So with whoever you’re talking to, you figure out where
you’re more comfortable and what are your specific needs. So that way, just like Michael said, the four of us can probably connect them to where they need at that point, but if they felt more
comfortable talking to Tanu at the beginning, then Tanu can have that
initial conversation, he can probably send them to me for let’s say youth services. If they need to get tested,
then I can send them over to get the PrEP study going with Michael. So it’s just find that connection of where they would feel more comfortable. ‘Cause probably straight off the bat, if they don’t wanna come out as queer, they’re not gonna come to the center. They’re gonna be scared. But if they meet Tanu, and he
talks the talk that he does and makes me look good,
then they’ll come over ’cause they know me. So just find that point,
and kinda get them in ’cause I think a lot of
the mistakes that we do it’s like oh, you want HIV testing, here’s my only one contact, I
have no idea whose they are. Versus just finding that connection, and then we can do the job. – So this– (applause) Thank you so much for a wonderful, great, informative talk that you had, and I think you taught me a lot. There was things that I didn’t know. And I believe that every
time that you hear something and you feel really uncomfortable,
the job is well done. So if you felt uncomfortable today, that means that there are
things that we need to know. And I really wish that
this kind of education would start in high school, with that transparency
and straightforward talk. So that we don’t have to
start at the older age. But until then, until those
things that we wish for would happen, the job is this advocacy, the job is to be courageous, and talk about everything that
would be for the betterment of the society. Social justice is not selective. There’s some people
that are very selective about certain population, but in my opinion, if you’re for the
betterment of the society, social justice means every population that is facing injustice
needs to have advocates. Any injustice anywhere is
injustice to all of us. So I hope that these kind of
forums and talks will continue. Our hope is here, with
Long Beach City College Justice Scholars to
have a yearly symposium for HIV and AIDS awareness. This was our first. We will do a better job next time, but we would love to have you back. So thank you again for
everyone that attended, for the panel, thank you so much. And if you want to stay afterwards and have a personal talk, you’re more than welcome, thank you. (applause)

Danny Hutson

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