World AIDS Day

Posted on: February 12, 2021New York

Do you ever have those days during service where your mind goes a mile a minute, persistently trying to keep pace with all the tasks you have in front of you? The days where panic, confusion, or uncertainty take over as you do your best to provide peace and clarity during a difficult situation? For me, I think back to the moment I began sharing my screen to an audience of 80 people for Sun River Health’s first World AIDS Day conference. After weeks of planning committee meetings and coordinating important community dignitaries to speak at our event, the day had finally come to help run the conference dedicated to our patients with HIV. It wasn’t until the testimonies began that my heart stopped racing and calmed down. Their stories embodied a deep pain and perseverance that immediately silenced the noise that had distracted me for weeks. At that moment, it hit me. 38 million people worldwide currently have HIV and AIDS, which means 38 million people have stories like these that deserve to be heard. Healthcare workers and community members who advocated for these patients consistently came up in the testimonies as the reason the patients were able to push through the stigma and become more than their diagnosis. I knew then that all the stress was worth it because this conference helped empower our patients, which is and will always be my ultimate mission as a National Health Corps Member.  

World AIDS Day is a global initiative that takes place every December 1st to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and the mission to end the pandemic. During this day, thousands of patients, healthcare workers, and community advocates get together to show support for those impacted by HIV/AIDS and reflect on the history of the pandemic. Usually in December quilts are displayed to represent the history of HIV/AIDS to provide education and recognition in the community. However, COVID-19 led to the cancelation of the display. In response to this, our Consumer Advisory Board decided to put on a World AIDS Day Conference for Sun River Health that would reflect the past, present, and future of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in New York. Our speakers discussed topics ranging from HIV prevention and treatment, health policy and advocacy, to NY population statistics. The event not only helped raise awareness about the work and advocacy happening in our state but also amplified the voices of patients, who are a living testament to how far HIV treatment and awareness has come since the 1980s.  

Whether it’s helping review case management patients’ charts, creating care plan training curriculums, or conducting research for quality improvement projects, my time serving with the Genesis Department has been a life-changing experience that constantly affirms my desire to pursue public health medicine in the future. Despite our progress, there is still more to be done to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and I’m honored to be a part of that mission. 

Kendra Egharevba serves in Peekskill, NY with the Genesis Department. 

Sources 

https://www.hiv.gov/hiv-basics/overview/data-and-trends/global-statistics#:~:text=According%20to%20UNAIDS%20%3A,(%3C15%20years%20old)

https://www.worldaidsday.org/ 

Host Site

1037 Main Street
Peekskill NY, 10566
1037 Main Street
Peekskill NY, 10566