Participants will be:
If you would have asked Dr. Pope, our Founder & CEO, if she would be the leader of a program with the central purpose of shinning the light on HIV/AIDS awareness and advocating for people living with HIV/AIDS, her answer would have been NOT ME because I do not know enough! However, on November 7, 2019, Dr. Pope is launching her first HIV/AIDS awareness program!
Dr. Pope, like many others in the battle against HIV/AIDS lost two of her close friends due to the AIDS virus. "Craig" and "Leslie" were in their early 30s when they discovered they had contracted AIDS. Dr. Pope played Spades with them on a monthly basis. She was very close to them and she learned about the LGTBQ community from their openess.
Craig became homeless temporarily and he stayed with Dr. Pope after he as Leslie could not work due to their health. It was during the early 90s, and HIV/AIDS was a new disease. Dr. Pope had so many fears of the disease. When Craig lived with her, she faced many of her unknown biases and fears about contracting the virus from HIV positive people. She also learned how people living with HIV/AIDS were treated by their friends, their families, and their employers once their SECRET was discovered.
Dr. Pope also learned that HIV/AIDS attacks everyone differently. She learned people need to be educated to eliminate their fears due to false information about HIV/AIDS. With proper education, we can help decrease the transmission of HIV and AIDS. When we are armed with proper knowledge, we can support and advocate for those living with HIV/AIDS.
DR. Pope watched her friend and his partner battle the disease until their deaths. She witnessed them lose their employment, personal belongings, and their security. Moreover, she learned people who are HIV positive needed resources to help them live long healthy lives.
Dr. Pope accepted her call to ensure people living with HIV/AIDS obtain the proper care needed to live an empowered and long life. She has accepted her role in advocating for people living with HIV/AIDS by telling their stories, making sure they have a place to live, and to ensure they know what resources are available to help them live their best lives.
This month we are going to share Veria Steptoe's story. She is also a team member of The Next Move Re-entry Program. She is candid about her HIV positive status; she is an awesome resource for others who need information about resources in the city of Houston.
If you want to become a member of our re-entry program, you must pay a $500 deposit, complete an application, and an interview. You can download the application using this portal.