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Youth HIV Activists Lead Charge to End AIDS in Washington


Kelly Bray
(206) 957-1633

April 7, 2015 – Seattle – According to the Washington State Department of Health, in Seattle, one in eight new HIV diagnoses occurs among youth ages 13-24. In 2014 Mayor Ed Murray declared the entire month of April as National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Month in response to this alarming health issue impacting youth and young adults in Seattle and across the country. Nationally, April 10 is commemorated as National HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NYHAAD).

“This may be just one day, but for those of us who are living with HIV, taking our antiretrovirals each day is a constant reminder that the crisis is not over,” says Manuel Vengas, the Seattle NYHAAD Youth Ambassador from Advocates for Youth, a national non-profit that helps young people make informed and responsible decisions about their reproductive and sexual health.  

On April 18, Seattle area youth HIV activists will host a free educational community forum in recognition of NYHAAD from 1-3 p.m. at the Central Library Downtown. The event is open to the public.

“It’s a new era of HIV care and prevention,” states Michael Barnes, Program Coordinator for Lifelong’s youth program. “Health care reform has improved access to care. Science and medicine have created new prevention and treatment options. Let’s work together with young people to harness their energy and passion to end this disease once and for all.”

A Future United: Youth Creating an AIDS-free Generation features an honest dialogue about HIV and AIDS stigma affecting youth communities as well as prevention efforts. Aleksa Manila, a popular local drag personality, will be hosting. There will be a panel consisting of the following individuals:
Tranisha Arzah, BABES Network-YWCA
Manuel Venegas, NYHAAD Ambassador, Advocates for Youth
Bas Frost, Lifelong’s HEYO, Peace for the Streets by Kids for the Streets
Brandyn Gallagher, PrEP Facts: Rethinking Prevention and Sex

There will be educational modules focusing on the following topics:

PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophyaxsis), Brandyn Gallagher, PrEP Facts
State of HIV Prevention in 2015, Michael Barnes, Lifelong
Harm Reduction Basics, Project Neon Peer Educators

Health providers, educators, community members

April 18, 1 p.m.- 3 p.m.

Central Library Downtown (auditorium)
1000 Fourth Avenue, Seattle

Email HEYO by April 14

This event is presented in partnership with the #MyHIVMoment campaign, a collaborative effort of Lifelong, the Center for Multicultural Health, Entre Hermanos, Gay City Men’s Health, Seattle Counseling Services, and We Are 1.


About Lifelong
Lifelong is the leading community health organization serving people with chronic illnesses, including HIV/AIDS, in Washington State.  We believe all people deserve a place to live, healthy food to eat, and access to affordable, quality healthcare. Lifelong delivers food, housing, and health services; collaborates with community organizations on the prevention and care of chronic disease; and advocates for effective HIV/AIDS policy. Simply put — we make health work.