As a provider, I feel privileged to work in one of the first Southeastern cities in the United States to engage in the Fast Track Cities’ initiative. Through great leadership from community partners, the Jefferson County Health Department and patient advocates, I have every reason to believe that the city of Birmingham will be able to decrease inequities in our HIV status neutral continuum through programs exactly like this. This inspires such hope looking towards the future.
Community Leadership Messages
Since beginning work in HIV Education in 2013, I’ve realized how powerful and important it is to be open about my status. People fear things that they don’t understand and I am using my personal story and experiences to combat stigma, fear, and overall ignorance wherever it exists. There was a time when being HIV Positive was a death sentence, now the disease isn’t killing people, stigma is.
We are honored to work with a community of partners such as AIDS Alabama, Aletheia House, and Birmingham AIDS Outreach to create a safe, brave space for our community to find their own voice. Implementing support and resources to our community is key to them living a productive life. However, stigma is still a barrier for individuals adhering to care. We must work together to reduce stigma related to HIV within our community. We cannot and will not end the epidemic without hearing from the voices of our community.
“We celebrate the momentous launch of the Birmingham/Jefferson County dashboard with gratitude to Mayor Randall Woodfin for his enthusiastic endorsement of Birmingham as a Fast Track City. Working with the Mayor’s office, the Jefferson County HIV/AIDS Community Coalition, led by Chair Mr. Rick Walton, has been instrumental in providing grass roots advocacy towards Birmingham becoming a Fast Track City. Drs. Mark Wilson and David Hicks have provided visionary leadership at the Jefferson County Department of Health – the first Southern U.S. jurisdiction to adopt a U=U resolution -- and have been steadfast in implementation of Fast Track City strategic planning towards achieving the 90-90-90 targets.”
"We are fortunate to have multiple partners, including the City of Birmingham, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, our county and state health department, and several HIV/AIDS advocacy and service organizations, who are all committed to working together to reach the 90-90-90 targets.”