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.
Asia has worked to combat HIV since the early days of the epidemic. While volunteering with the Staten Island AIDS Task Force in 1994, she got tested for HIV as a gesture of support for a client only to learn that she herself was positive.
Bianca holds graduate degrees from the University of Maryland in Women’s Studies and New York University in Human Sexuality Education. She is a board member of The Black Girl Project and has taught at institutions of higher education. She is currently the Director of Education and Regional Programs for Scenarios USA.
Craig started out as a peer educator when he was a high school student in Brooklyn. He went on to work with organizations such as the Hunter College Center for Community and Urban Health; Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS; and the Brooklyn Pediatric AIDS Network. Craig currently lives in New Jersey.
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.
Kalvin learned that he was HIV-positive as a college freshman. Since 2012, he has worked at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health as a Field Director/Program Coordinator. In 2014, after successfully serving three consecutive years on the NYS Dept. of Health’s Statewide AIDS Services Delivery Consortium (SASDC), Kalvin was appointed as the youngest member for NY Governor Cuomo’s Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic Task Force. Currently, he is a member of the NYS Dept. of Health’s HIV Advisory Body (HAB) and is pursuing a Masters in Healthcare Administration at Columbia University.
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. She is also one of the many faces for the HIV Stops With Me Campaign.
Moya has worked in prevention and education for over 10 years. She holds a Masters degree in Public Health from Columbia University and has specialized in HIV prevention, youth development, and reproductive health at various community based organizations. Currently, she is a Program Coordinator at the Mt. Sinai Adolescent Health Center.
Nicole was raised in Rhode Island. She obtained her MSW from CUNY Hunter College. She has worked as a high school health teacher and is a former coordinator of the Keeping Adolescents and Young Adults Connected (KAYAC) program at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center. Nicole has also worked internationally in Cameroon and Guatemala. She currently works with survivors of domestic violence.
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.
Vivian, a Brooklyn native, Bronx transplant holds a Masters of Public Health from Columbia University and is pursuing a doctorate of public health degree. She has extensive experience in curriculum and sexual health education development, and has developed such work for Dominican Republic and Australia programming. Vivian is currently the Deputy Director of Community Engagement for New York City Teens Connection, a program of the NYCDOHMH.