HIV/AIDS Advocates Making a Difference

Apicha Community Health Center Nov 25, 2015  
hiv/aids advocates

Throughout the history of the fight against HIV/AIDS, there has been a long list of advocates helping to wage war against the disease.

These are people who devoted their time, energy, money, and above all passion, to a cause. Whether they got involved because AIDS/HIV affected a loved one, family member or friend, it doesn’t matter, these are all people who made a difference.

Some influential and well-known past and present advocates includes: Elizabeth Glaser, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Elizabeth Taylor, Pedro Zamora, Greg Louganis.

Today, there is a new wave of individuals making a difference with their advocacy, lobbying, and influence. At Apicha Community Health Center, we love hearing about HIV/AIDS advocates in the fight this disease, and we wanted to highlight several of them.

For more extensive lists of advocates, check out here and here.


Yvette is one of those people does who it all. She runs a catering company in the city of Midrand Gauteng in South Africa, is a guardian for three young girls living with HIV, and was a 2014 AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition Fellow associated with John Hopkins University.

Diagnosed with HIV in 2000, Yvette has worked in support of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and the Campaign to End AIDS.

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Fraser has been an activist for the long haul: he has been an AIDS activist as a member of ACT-UP, and he was a co-founding board member of Visual AIDs.

He also led the international development unit at ICTJ, a human rights organization headquartered in Brussels and New York, and as head of development at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative.


Grissel, a Los Angeles children’s advocate, has produced, We’re Still Here, a documentary about her experience as a young adult born with HIV that she hopes will help form a community around others who were also born with HIV. The trailer has just been released.

Grissel also works in the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, and has a seat on the President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.


Paul is the executive director of the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC). NMAC is dedicated to building leadership in communities of color to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

They represent a coalition of faith based and community based organizations, as well as AIDS Service organizations advocating and delivering HIV/AIDS services in communities of color nationwide.


At only 23, James has been busy: he has presented in front of the FDA and the CDC, and has become a strong voice within ACT UP New York City, where he has co-founded their Prevention of HIV Action Group.

James has recently focused his efforts on spearheaded a successful campaign to convince the FDA to approve the Alere rapid HIV test (which can detect HIV sooner and more accurately than other tests) for use in non-laboratory settings like bars, clubs, or your local gay pride festival.


Susan was diagnosed with HIV in 1995, and since then has been focused on AIDS activism, as well as implementing healthy meal programs.

Susan is the founding director of Sisterhood Mobilized for AIDS/HIV Research & Treatment (SMART), and received the Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Leader Award in 2010.

Don’t hesitate to become an HIV/AIDs advocate or activist yourself. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate or too time-consuming; it can be as simple as signing a petition, volunteering for an AIDS organization or charity, making a donation, attending meetings or rallies, and writing to those in office.

Apicha CHC offers HIV testing, which is available by appointment. We also offer screenings to see if PrEP is the right choice for you, and case management for HIV for our enrolled clients. If you are not a patient, and would like to become one, go here to request an appointment.

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