Growing up in San Francisco, HIV/AIDS made a lasting impact on my life as a gay black man. I grew up in an era long before PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, an effective treatment-as-prevention option for men who have sex with men.). I grew up in the era of Pedro Zamora and movies like Philadelphia. This era was horrifying and left me with many doubts my life expectancy as a gay black man. As a closeted 14-year-old, my view of being a gay man in San Francisco was colored with visions of death and illness. An entire generation of gay men in major cities like San Francisco and New York were dead or dying.
The United States government and our political leadership at the time did nothing to even acknowledge, let alone address, the epidemic. Officials initially coined the disease “Gay Related Immune Disease” or GRID, and the world left us to die. I grew up assuming my life would end like that of the generation that came before me — outcast and without support.
As I grew up, I attended my first San Francisco Pride after being kicked out of the family house. I saw what our community was really like: resilient and strong despite overwhelming oppression, which gave rise to generations of LGBT activists and allies. As it became apparent that activism runs deep in my blood, my first efforts were to fight the spread of HIV by educating and organizing the African-American community so that they know that someone who looked like them cared.
Over the last many years, I became an African-American face in the fight against HIV/AIDS because there were no such examples in my youth. I stand in support of my brothers and sisters because HIV/AIDS is still a major issue in communities of color (African American and Latino) which have HIV acquisition and transmission rates that higher than other ethnic communities. I work actively to educate and bring resources into our communities to do my part to end this disease.
I am proud of nearly a decade of service in various capacities through San Francisco AIDS Foundation as a veteran AIDS/LifeCycle rider, Seismic Challenge rider, Surf City AIDS Ride rider and spokesperson with the Center for Disease Control though their program Testing Makes Us Stronger. I am happy to promote the work of Bridge HIV, Strut, Magnet, and many other local organizations that support our community in preventing the spread of and treating this disease. I look forward to the day when we have a cure, when none of us live in fear or stigma, and when none of us lack access to resources such as PrEP.
Will you please join mei n support of families living with HIV/AIDS.
Through the power of your donation Sunburst Projects will keep families together by providing services that strengthen and empower individuals, families, and communities to ensure youth living with HIV/AIDS reach their highest potential.
Please accept this invitation to #ShowUpForHIV in support of families.
You donation of $5, $10, $20 or more will benefit youth supported by this great organization.
You can donate at the link below. Each ticket you purchase will qualify you for entry into a raffle.
Prizes include: $100 Amazon gift card, $50 AMC gift card, massage gift cards, gift baskets, and more!
Winners will be announced on December 17th at the Ye Olde Holiday Drag Swap Meet from 2pm to 5pm at Oasis, 298 11th Street, San Francisco, CA
How do you #ShowUp4HIV this World AIDS Day? Find out how you can get involved by checking out this guide to #WAD2017 events in San Francisco. https://buff.ly/2im98SW
Feel free to forward this message to your networks!
– Sent From Mobile –
Shaun H. Haines
If you believe we could connect on issues important to San Franciscans. Please contact me. Let’s partner in our common efforts to help make a change. I know we can do this together.