According to the Center of Disease Control there are over 1.2 million people living with HIV/AIDs in the United States. Each year over 55,000 Americans, half under the age of 24, are infected. It is estimated that one out of every five individuals of those living with HIV or AIDS, do not know they are infected.
In the presentation of Does HIV Look Like Me? Todd Murray, the founder and President of Hope’s Voice will share his personal story of growing up as a gay male. He will share experiences of being a young kid and feeling “different” than his peers, wanting to be himself and the fear and reality of bullying that eventually drove Todd to drop out of high school. Todd moved away, found a job, educated himself by night, and eventually found himself in a happy relationship. On World AIDS Day, 2001, after his relationship had ended, a friend encouraged Todd to go with him to get tested for HIV. A nurse encouraged Todd to get tested too, even though he did not think he was at risk. Two weeks later, Todd would find out he was HIV positive.
After feeling alone and isolated, Todd began to share his story with family, friends and strangers and found that his story had great impact. He knew that the world needed to see the faces, hear the voices and learn the stories of those who were living with the disease – all without using fear. “It was clear to me that the stigma and discrimination affects communities that are often misunderstood by young people. It was with this reality that I decided that Hope’s Voice should be a platform for young people to share their stories.” Todd’s commitment to the struggles and accomplishments of young people has provided an international platform and today Hope’s Voice is working in communities and countries around the world.
Blank index cards will be provided at the Does HIV Look Like Me? event, so that students observing the National Day of Silence can participate in the question and answer session.
For more information contact Miriam Zaragoza, Diversity/Intercultural Awareness Coordinator, at (425) 388-9505, or SAO Advisor, Lindsay Hudson at (425) 388-9509