As the leading provider of HIV/AIDS education in the New York City area, the Love Heals Center for Youth and Families at GMHC’s Speakers Bureau has reached more than 700,000 youth throughout the five boroughs, Long Island, and Westchester County.
HIV-positive speakers and trained health educators visit 100-200 schools and community groups annually to share personal testimonials about how they contracted the virus and how it impacted their lives.
Yearly focus group evaluations regularly find that hearing the speaker’s story along with key HIV transmission/prevention facts made HIV and its prevalence an urgent reality. Young people become more sexually responsible, by using condoms and openly communicating with partners.
Below are some of the Speakers we work with at Love Heals.
Douglas learned that he was HIV-positive while in college in the early 1990s. A former supportive services counselor for Housing Works, he has worked in the field of HIV/AIDS since 1998. Douglas loves to travel, read, garden, and play sports. He has recently returned to college to complete his undergraduate degree.
Jahlove contracted HIV through a sexual encounter at the age of 15. Upon disclosing his status, he was kicked out of his home. Jahlove draws on this experience in his work as a youth advocate, AIDS activist, model and performer. He is one of the faces of the national HIV Stops With Me campaign.
Joey draws on his experience being HIV-positive in his work with marginalized communities. The Bronx native is a trained health educator with over 15 years of experience working with runaway, homeless and street-involved youth. Joey currently works as the Outreach Coordinator at The Ali Forney Center, a program that serves LGBT Youth.
Kareem, a graduate of SUNY’s University at Buffalo, received his health education training through Love Heals. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Kareem is the creator of Bloodline Denim jeans, a self-taught pastry chef and a member of the Love Heals Board of Directors.
As an openly HIV+ advocate, speaker, and health educator for Love Heals, Kalvin has completed over 100 presentations. In 2018, Kalvin earned a Master’s in Healthcare Administration from Columbia University and joined Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) as Director of Business Development & Community Engagement from 2018 to 2019. Kalvin was also appointed as the youngest member and Prevention Committee Co-Chair for NY Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Ending the Epidemic Task Force to reduce HIV infections. Most recently, he can be found as a spokes-model for the “U=U” campaign (Undetectable Equals Untransmittable), which brings bold awareness to the ground-breaking research, encouraging HIV+ individuals to reach and maintain an undetectable viral load.
Kim, a Brooklyn native, learned she was HIV-positive at the age of 10 after both her parents died from AIDS-related illnesses. A trained health educator, Kim traveled to Africa with UNICEF to talk about her experiences with HIV and saw firsthand the impact of the epidemic abroad. Kim is a graduate of CUNY LaGuardia Community College and is now pursuing a Bachelor’s in Human Services from CUNY NYC College of Technology. Kim is also one of the many faces for the HIV Stops With Me Campaign.
Niko, a South Carolina native, was diagnosed with HIV while in college. She was 19 years old and it was her first sexual encounter. After dealing with the initial depression, she relocated to NYC where she has worked tirelessly in HIV advocacy. In 2012 Niko was inducted as a 20/20 Leading Lady with over 20 HIV positive women from the U.S. and Africa. Niko is also a spokesperson for the HIV Stops with Me campaign.