Black AIDS Update recently spoke with Black Women’s Ambassador Derinthia Williams. Williams works for Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) in Atlanta. HOPWA is a federally funded HUD program that offers a variety of housing solutions and support services for low-income persons living with HIV/AIDS.
Black AIDS Update (BAU): Tell me about your work?
Williams: I advocate on behalf of people living with HIV that are dealing with the housing crisis, this actually includes myself.
BAU: Why did you get into this work?
Williams: The reason being is because I am a part of the crisis. If no one wants to speak up for people living with HIV, actually what I’m going through, I will.
BAU: What’s the most rewarding aspect of your work?
Williams: What will be the most rewarding aspect is to see me, and my people, housed in stable housing, so we can stay in adherence to our health actually taking care of ourselves without the stress of housing.
BAU: What do you see as the greatest opportunity/challenge for your work?
Williams: The opportunity to speak for those that are afraid to speak up for themselves, I am just an advocate/voice. I want to see things changed, however the challenge is that we are looking for help with a mass amount of funding, but not receiving it.
BAU: How’s does your work intersect being a BAI Black Women’s Ambassador?
Williams: The intersection of the ambassador is that we talk about Treatment as prevention (TASP), U=U, plus PrEP. The issues with housing in Atlanta cause people living with HIV to become careless and not apply these methods. But as an ambassador, I am able to implement these even more to women that are experiencing this tragedy of housing, by saying sis we are in this together, we are all fighting for housing but let’s not forget to fight for our health.
BAU: How is being a Black Women’s Ambassador?
Williams: It great being an ambassador. Just say that word ambassador and its like you have to live up to that role of a woman in leadership!