This week, we will celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the founding of the Black AIDS Institute on Friday, May 10th. In 1999, after a life-threatening struggle with HIV, our founder Phill Wilson, along with his best friend, the late Reggie Williams founded a non-profit think tank focused on HIV/AIDS in the Black community. The organization initially launched as the African American AIDS Policy & Training Institute and later became known as the Black AIDS Institute.
From the African American HIV University and Black Treatment Advocates Network (BTAN), to the groundbreaking “State of AIDS in Black America” reports and celebrations of Black excellence at the annual Heroes in the Struggle Gala Reception and Awards, the Institute has been relentless in its focus on Black communities. We continue in this legacy doing our work in a uniquely and unapologetically Black fashion each day with a commitment to our community.
To meet the demand of ending the HIV epidemic in Black communities we are adding new talent to our dynamic team. A few weeks ago, we introduced you to our new Deputy Director, Bruce Smail. In this issue of Black AIDS Update, we introduce you to the newest member of the BAI family, Toni Robinson, who is our Director of Development. Toni comes to this role with more than 17 years of development, marketing, communication, and advocacy experience. We are reimagining the future of BAI and we are searching for the brightest and most passionate folks to do that. Please visit our website to learn more about current positions that are open.
Make sure you check out the “What We’re Reading” section about the ground-breaking eight-year study in which HIV medications make HIV “untransmittable” with zero infections occurring between partners. The study prevented some 472 HIV transmissions over the eight-year period. This study monitored nearly 1,000 gay male couples over eight years, where one partner was HIV-positive and receiving antiretroviral (ART) treatment, while the other was HIV negative. Doctors did not find one single case of in-couple HIV transmission within that time. Undetectable=Untransmittable! and it’s critical that Black communities know about the amazing tools we have that can end the HIV epidemic. Please make sure to sign up for our upcoming webinars to hear more about this and other ground-breaking science that is revolutionizing the field.
It has been an exciting journey since January as the new President and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute (BAI). I have been on staff for more than 10 years with the organization, but I look forward to seeing old friends, and meeting new folks at the largest HIV gathering in the United States, the United States Conference on AIDS (USCA) on September 5 to 8 at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, D.C. BAI will have specific programming during the conference to ensure that we hold the Trump Administration accountable in its plan to end the HIV epidemic by 2030. We want to make sure that this strategy has a Black centric focus as part of the outreach.
There are many scholarships that are available for persons to attend USCA. These applications are due in the next few days. For more information about these scholarships, CLICK HERE.