East Bay Getting to Zero

On December 10, 2019, we held our first EBGTZ World AIDS Day event, focused on empowering youth to get to zero. 151 people joined us to listen to an amazing array of speakers and panelists, and learn about the intersection of HIV, human rights and youth access to care. Around half of the participants were students, young community members and advocates ages 24 and under, and the other half were older service providers, teachers, advocates and public health staff. It was a rare opportunity for us to protect time to listen to and learn from the experiences and stories of young people.   

You can click here to download the handout summarizing the key themes, highlights and action steps that emerged from our sharing and discussions. 

We are grateful and fortunate to have such committed and fierce advocates in our community. Naina Khanna, the Executive Director of Positive Women’s Network, gave an inspiring talk about the importance of involving young people in the HIV response, addressing institutional disparities, and reimagining collaboration to build a better society.

We had 6 youth panelists, moderated by Terrance Walker, our Youth Engagement Specialist, who shared about their experiences and journeys in accessing HIV testing, prevention and treatment services. During our Q&A session, 4 youth service providers shared their insights on providing youth-friendly care: David Gonzalez from Asian Health Services, Dr. Tomás Magaña from Fuente Wellness/La Clínica, Dr. Aisha Mays from Roots DREAM clinic, and Matt Reynolds from EBAC Downtown Youth Clinic.

Highlights shared by participants include:

  • Learning about the intersection of HIV, health care and human rights with Naina Khanna
  • Learning about what it’s like to access care elsewhere, in Mexico and detention centers
  • Older folks listening to younger folks, and younger folks sharing stories and projects with older folks
  • Being inspired by the passion and commitment of the speakers and people in small groups and feeling like we can do something to help

Key action steps shared by participants include:

  • Provide rapid and streamlined access to non-judgmental and culturally-concordant care which is driven by the client, regardless of income or immigration status
  • Have and develop outreach materials and media in Spanish
  • Provide education and navigation support for individuals who are not familiar with local systems, particularly immigrants
  • Spend time to listen and develop humility among organizations and providers

Thanks to all whom participated and to our awesome collaborators! In addition to our usual linkage and retention network collaboration with Alameda County Public Health Department and the Bay Area AETC, Roots Dream clinic, La Clínica, Asian Health Services, and EBAC’s Downtown Youth Clinic joined in our planning group. Special thanks to Ieshia Sheppard and Young Whan Choi for their photography.