It's inevitable that anything virtual will have some hiccups but I was honestly just so excited to be in attendance that I didn't care. It was a bit annoying but the experience heavily outweighed the annoyance of technology. After becoming positive in 2016, I went on a research binge and USCHA was one of the very first things to come up and with reason! This is the most anticipated conference for HIV/AIDS, in my personal opinion, and I quickly learned why.
Virtual attendance wasn't part of the dream but the dream came true ya'll! Since making the decision to be public with my status, I dreamed of attending this event and that dream finally came true and I am so honored to have been in attendance on behalf of The Well Project.
The platform was laid out in a miraculous way; so bright, colorful and easy to maneuver. The dashboard allowed me to envision what it would be like if this were held in person. An atmosphere filled with color, love, laughter, and above all, happiness. To be surrounded by so many amazing individuals who share in the same mission as you was honestly at times breathtaking. To hear talks and presentations about inclusivity, about black, brown, transgender individuals and women having a seat at the table, about ending stigma, ending the epidemic and so much in between.
I can say for me personally it was refreshing to see people who look like me, who understand my experiences not just with HIV but with life, and simply put it was emotional. Often times as a Latinx in this fight we feel forgotten, as someone considered newly diagnosed we feel forgotten, and as women we feel forgotten, but at a place like USCHA you feel seen. And damn was it a good freaking feeling.
If you are reading this and you question your worth in this fight please know YOU matter. If you are reading this and you say, na not me ... sis/bro, yes YOU because guess what? Myself and many others were once in your shoes! We know life isn't always rainbows and butterflies just like HIV isn't, but here YOU have a tribe. At USCHA you have a tribe and at The Well Project YOU have a tribe who loves you and supports you regardless!!!
If you ever reach a point where you crave acceptance, where you crave love, where you crave to be heard and seen, please consider joining our Well Project Tribe and if you muster up enough faith in yourself, I encourage you to consider attending USCHA, and I ask, that the day you do, look for my smiling face because I, along with so many others, will be there to greet you with open arms!