15 Years Living with HIV

My name is José Ramirez. June marks 15 years since I was diagnosed with HIV. My life has been blessed with many opportunities to advocate for my fellow community for HIV prevention and treatment, youth issues, immigration reform, and much more. I am always passionate to give back to my community and volunteer for what I believe in--helping others and treating all human beings with love and respect.

I have loved empowering youth with the tools to succeed whether through my past positions at Empodérate Youth Center at La Clínica del Pueblo or Transgender Health Empowerment (T.H.E) in DC, Identity in Maryland, educating youth in New Mexico or North Carolina, or providing HIV prevention and sex education to new leaders in El Salvador or Colombia--connecting to the home countries of my parents. 

I try to lead by example, and share my story and community organizing skills with others by volunteering as a board member of the Latino GLBT History Project, co-chair of DC Latino Pride, providing HIV testing at Casa Ruby, participating in CDC's "Let's Stop HIV Together" public service poster campaign or sharing my story in 2010 though Director Susan Koch's "The Other City"--a documentary which brings attention to DC's HIV/AIDS epidemic.

While life has brought me many great experiences, currently I am experiencing many challenges. With state and federal budget cuts to many Washington area health agencies, I am currently in between jobs and waiting for my application to go through at another community health organization. I have been working very hard cleaning homes and working side jobs to support my living expenses here in Washington, DC. 

However, I also support my Mom who I love so very much. She lives in North Carolina and is unable to work due to her Lupus and health issues. Right now times are tough and it is difficult to make ends meet and ensure my Mom has a roof over her head. Though it is very hard for me to do, I am asking that you would consider making a donation to help me out in this very very difficult time.

Since finding out that I was infected with HIV in 1999, I have dedicated my life to HIV prevention and community education and empowerment. In commemoration of these 15 years of service to our community, I have set a goal to raise $1,500, which will ensure I can support Mom's expenses for the next two months until I land a new job. On average I give back over 15 hours of volunteer time to my community each week. Please consider a $15 donation or $100 to commemorate one of the 15 years to which I have decided to give back to my community through education and prevention. Each year, I connect over DC, MD, and VA residents with over 250 health and government services--consider a $250 donation.

Again, it is with great humility that I ask for your support. If you know me personally you know that I am always willing to give back and support other community members with all the resources and heart I have. It is only because of the very very difficult times that I am going through that I am reaching out and asking for your support and opportunities to open new doors.

En la lucha!
José Ramirez
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Organizer

José Ramirez 
Organizer
Washington D.C., DC
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