HIV Research Catalyst Forum, Day 1

So me and my friend Jesse Sanchez from Miami attended I guess you can say technically the "First" day of the HIV Research Catalyst Forum and so far the experience is awesome. We have already meet quite a few people and I'm super excited to have this opportunity. So here is the first blog with both Jesse and I at the helm and I hope that you all like this. =)

Opening Shout Outs!!!!

Tonights opening plenary session was so uplifting and fear inspiring. I loved the heartfelt stories of the trails and tribulations of getting oneself involved in the fight of saving ones life and helping others to gain the needed knowledge to remember that the fight is not over yet!!!!

I was looking at the scholarship Break down and I want to say that I am from NJ and only 2 applicants received a scholarship so I want to say a deep felt thank you to Tracy Swan for reading my application and accepting me to attend.......  read more »

A Rebirth

As long as I have been in this work I will never feel more excited and empowered as when I'm in a room full of AIDS activists. It's true we are a family that possesses unique similarities and the differences that make us even stronger and more solid, if we allow ourselves to be open to learn and to engage.

Tonight was terrific and motivates me to renew my energy and commitment especially when I look out on my old and dear friends and new eager ones.

Thanks to TAG and CHAMP, Waheedah, Moises, Tracy, Cathy and Lynda were terrific.

Look forward to the next few days and productive discourse.

Matt Sharp


I am finally here for the the Catalyst Forum and I am very excited to be here although I missed the dinner and the registration. I am very anxious to see where everyone is in research and advocacy. I am also looking forward to working with everyone from different communities and walks of life to see how HIV/AIDS advocacy, planning, and research is impacting their communities as well as their lives.

It's very interesting to me that I live in Washington, DC but yet there is little to no funding or the idea of funding HIV/AIDS prevention or grassroots efforts is almost laughed at but you see other communities who are not highly impacted making such a difference. I believe this is a start to a great journey with everyone who is here this week for such an amazing and life changing forum.  read more »

Welcome Everyone to Baltimore

I am sitting in my room with this amazing view of the harbor and cannot believe i am here.  Welcome to Baltimore everyone!!! i look forward to hearing what you all have to say and learning tons from each and every one of you.



My Tales of Two Cities

My name is Christopher Ervin. I am the Director of Development for Aniz, Inc. Aniz is a community-based organization located in Atlanta whose mission is to provide prevention, education, advocacy, and directed services to multi-cultural children, women and seniors infected/affected with HIV/AIDS.

This has been a most auspicious week for me. I have the privilege of participating in two events that speaks to why I work in the community. It should be noted that as we discuss HIV/AIDS, I will be in two of the cities that have been significantly impacted by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.  As I write this piece, I am in Washington, DC participating in the National Minority Quality Forum/Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in cooperation with the Congressional Black Caucus 7th Annual Leadership Summit. The focus of this summit is to bring community leaders, health providers and policy makers together to address health disparities in the country and improving health equity. During the time here, there has been much discussion of how to not only increase participation of disparate communities in clinical trials, but how to make such clinical trials more patient and community-centered. In addition, there was a panel discussion that discuss the issues of how HIV/AIDS, including ADAP is funded, the importance of health provider training and importance of increased diversity in HIV vaccine trials. If you interested in some of the proceedings of the summit, you can follow my twitter as @cprdoc or my organization as @Aniz_Inc  read more »

Excited For HIV Research Catalyst Forum

Hey Everyone!

My name is Durryle and I am extremely excited about what this conference represents! For me, this conference really marks the beginning of my journey into the vast and extensive field of HIV Research. As a person who received bare bones prevention information and little to no information as to how the HIV virus actually effects the body-- this gathering of activists, health educators, medical providers, and researchers will provide me with a more holistic view of HIV.

I am particularly interested in hearing whether or not there are new ways of thinking and talking about the HIV virus. If discourse reflects worldviews, than how is our talking and thinking informing the type of research and treatment strategies people are embarking on? From my perspective, the search and destroy method has not yielded the results that we would have hoped. So theoretically, are there other strategies that might prove more fruitful moving forward than those that have traditionally relied upon search and destroy methods? I am not sure, but I am hopeful that some of my questions will be answered at the HIV Research Catalyst Forum.



Eat FREE Food - Input Needed: Prevention Umbrella for Men who have sex with men the Americas

Your Input Needed! Free Food for it!

PUMA, the Prevention Umbrella for Men who have sex with men the Americas, is a planning project that will lead to a large-scale randomized controlled trial of an HIV prevention package that will include several different prevention strategies.  Examples of the strategies that may be included are: PrEP, circumcision, couples counseling, home testing, and others.

Gaining input from diverse MSM communities about the individual strategies and the overall package will be critical for the success of this project!

Join Kaijson Noilmar, PUMA Community Advisory Committee member, and Project Director for the Legacy Project and Cindra Feuer of AVAC, to learn more about PUMA, and offer input into the community engagement strategy for this effort, and of course, eat yummy food!

When: Wednesday, April 21st at 5:30-7pm  read more »

"Divas After Dark"/Broadway Cares Event to Follow HRCF Reception at Hippo on Wednesday

If you are thinking of going to the Baltimore reception for HRCF at the Club Hippo from 7 to 9 on Wednesday night (and I hope that you are!), you might also want to stick around for "Divas After Dark," a fundraiser for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS featuring the national touring cast of PHANTOM OF THE OPERA.
Admission to the activists reception is free. Admission to the "Divas After Dark" show is $7. Additional details follow.
All best wishes,
The 'DIVAS AFTER DARK' a late night cabaret show featuring cast members from the National Tour of PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is this coming Wednesday night at 11:30pm (doors open at 10:30pm) at the Club Hippo, 1 West Eager Street at Charles in Mt. Vernon.
Broadway Star Kim Stengel, Luke Grooms, Satomi Hofmann, Dara Adler and others will perform live as a benefit to BROADWAY CARES/EQUITY FIGHTS AIDS. Ms.  read more »

Happy to see you all soon!

How many times have I left the house and gone to the airport or train station to head out to work with dedicated activists - including many who are living with HIV - to put our heads and hearts together to demand changes that we need to overturn this epidemic?

Perhaps too many times. Or not yet enough...

But it's feeling strangely unfamiliar, as this is just my third week back from parental leave - so it's been months since I have been able to throw myself into this work (and sometimes it seems that I've barely been able to leave the house at all!)

I feel so honored to be able to re-emerge in the context of this gathering, where my family will join me in traveling to see you all, and to once again bring the best that we have to offer to our collective strategizing and action-planning that we need.

In preparation for tonight's dinner, I was explaining to my wife that there will be people there who have known me since I was 22 years old, fully two decades ago, as well as newer comrades to this shared struggle against HIV/AIDS. I can't wait to introduce her, and our 4-month-old son, to you all!  read more »

Im excited the days has come!

Good morning everyone I am so excited about returning to Baltimore, MD. I was wondering has anyone ever been to a HIV related conference and what did you enjoy about it? and gain from the experince? and if so tell me about it? look for pics and more posts to come?

Homophobia: A Giant Hurdle in Prevention

Hello, my name is Javier Rios and I work in Albuquerque, New Mexico coordinating the MPowerment Project for New Mexico AIDS Services. I have been working for NMAS for almost 5 years with MPower Albuquerque. I am very excited to be attending the HIV Research Catalyst Forum in Baltimore. I am a gay native New Mexican and very proud to represent my communities, having the opportunity to share and collaborate with others from across the United States.

For my first blog I would like to write about homophobia and how I believe it is one of the greatest barriers to HIV prevention in the United States. From my experience working with young gay, bi, and transgender men in my community, prevention messages are not being delivered to or being received by the people most at risk. In New Mexico MSM, men who have sex with men, make up the largest percentage of HIV cases. They are the highest risk group in New Mexico like other parts of the United States and have the least access to appropriate prevention messages. I believe that homophobia, gay stigma, and HIV/AIDS stigma has caused a double speak where MSM risk for HIV is acknowledged, money is provided to target MSM and yet the messages are censored.  read more »


Hola desde Miami!!!

What is happening my little HIV Catalyst Forum readers? Well let me start off by saying that I totally procrastinated for this trip. I had to do last minute shopping today and the damage I made wasn’t good. My bags are overstuffed and like any true traveler, I probably won’t even use half the outfits I’m taking to Baltimore.

At any rate… let’s get to the introduction. My name is Jesse Sanchez, I am 22, and I live in Miami, Florida. I found out I was HIV+ a day after my 19th birthday. I mean it wasn’t the cutest “present” I’ve received, but hey, when life gives you aids make lemonade (oh I can so sense the hissing). At the time of my diagnosis I was working as a writer for the local Fox News affiliate here in Miami. In fear that I would be scrutinized or judged by co-workers I resigned.  read more »

Pre HIV Research Catalyst Forum Goodies!

So my name is Johnathan Shaw and I live in Augusta, GA.  I have been positive since December of 2008.  As a way for me to cope with Living with HIV I started to video blog about 3 months after my diagnosis.  I am so excited to be able to attend the forum and even more excited to be able to blog about the experience.  I think it will benefit me to be at the forum and to learn what other members of the community are going threw as well as what each of us are doing in an activist role.  Below is my Pre Forum Video that I posted on my Youtube Page and now on here so I hope you guys enjoy.



Here are the links to my facebook and my twitter for those of you who are interested. =)  read more »

See You Soon, Baltimore

Finally, I have finished packing. Now, some shut-eye before I wake up at 5:30 a.m. to catch my 7:00 a.m. flight out of San Francisco International Airport. I'm looking forward to landing in Baltimore for the HIV Research Catalyst Forum tomorrow. This would have been an impossibility had it not been for the generous scholarship awarded by the Committee. Thank you for a week of valuable networking and knowledge. And of course, a week off from grad school is nothing to complain about!

I am finishing my second year of graduate school in clinical psychology, and am on my way to my third year in August. How time flies! The specialty I am most interested in is health psychology (or behavioral medicine). My doctoral dissertation will explore health-related behaviors of gay-identified men who are HIV-positive, and how the experience of sexual minority stress affects overall well-being. I'm quite amazed to see the resilience in the many men I work with at my practicum agencies, Saint Mary's Medical Center and New Leaf: Services for Our Community. I am honored to be able to attend the HRCF, as it will offer much to me in support of my dissertation and future career as a psychologist.

I'm looking forward to meeting all of you. Good night.

Josh Matacotta

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