A Chicagoan is among four individuals featured in a touching new web video series depicting the stories of HIV-positive people living in the United States today.
Chad, diagnosed with HIV in 2009, said in a statement that he hopes his story, part of "The Journey: Portraits of People Living with HIV," encourages people diagnosed with HIV who have not yet sought support to begin that journey" of living with the virus. In Chad's case, he turned to a local HIV/AIDS service group, the Test Positive Aware Network, for support.
"Some of my support came from a local AIDS service organization (ASO) that provided information, resources and, maybe most importantly, a community that helped me find the strength to live the full life I wanted beyond my HIV diagnosis."
Chad still volunteers with both TPAN and the Chicago House and Social Service Agency, an AIDS service organization geared toward providing housing and other services to HIV-impacted families and individuals.
The video series was launched shortly in advance of National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day, intended to address challenges in HIV prevention, testing, care and treatment in aging populations slated for Sept. 18. The series was developed by Janssen Therapeutics.
According to the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, an estimated 20,676 Chicagoans are living with HIV/AIDS. In 2009, the most recent year with available data, 1,174 new HIV/AIDS diagnoses were made. According to the Chicago Department of Public Health's "Healthy Chicago" campaign [PDF], which aims to reduce the annual number of new HIV infections by 25 percent by the year 2020, 36,376 cases of the virus have been reported in the city since the epidemic began.
WATCH Chad's video below: