For my first outreach event serving at Howard Brown Health, I coordinated a National Black HIV/AIDS Day at Ida Noyes Hall located at University of Chicago. The purpose of this event was to bring Awareness to youth on the importance of protecting yourself when it comes to your health. It allowed me to be creative and bring a message to youth about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. HIV/AIDS rates are growing in the Black community and without knowing the importance of getting screened for HIV, protecting yourself and risk reduction rates will continue to grow. Stigma is also a contributing factor to the high rates of HIV in the black community. Many members of the black community do not trust the medical field because of past trauma. For these reasons, Howard Brown is committed to decreasing HIV stigma and increasing HIV knowledge. As an Outreach Coordinator serving at Howard Brown Health, I was able to plan and bring this event to life, which personally was important to me because I’ve lost friends, associates, and family due to lack of knowledge about HIV. I feel that with the youth we have today that there can be a change if someone like me continues to do the great work I love to do, which is providing culturally appropriate information to stay healthy.
This blog post was written by NHC Chicago 2018-19 member Dionte Purnell.
Dionte is an Outreach Coordinator at Howard Brown Health Center.