Atlanta-based HIV/AIDS activist Daniel Driffin is expected later this evening to take the main stage in Philadelphia to talk about HIV awareness and advocacy in the black community — the first time in 16 years the Democratic National Convention will be addressed by an openly HIV-positive speaker.
Driffin was at the top of a national list recommended by activists contacted by Hillary Clinton’s campaign, according to the Los Angeles LGBT newspaper The Pride:
Jaron Benjamin of Housing Works in New York described Driffin thusly: “He’s a 30 year old gay black man living with HIV, and a great public speaker. He will enter Morehouse School of Medicine’s MPHA program in the fall and has served as a Georgia Equality Youth HIV Policy Advisor. He was recently part of a PBS segment on the HIV epidemic in Atlanta. He’s also a founder of “Undetectables Atlanta,” a group of over 400 gay/bisexual men with HIV, and is also a founder of THRIVENESS, a non-profit service organization serving the same population. he also serves as co-chair of the Task Force to End AIDS in Fulton County, Georgia.”
Driffin himself announced his selection Monday afternoon via Facebook, just as the convention got underway:
I was selected based on the work, and countless people believe that I would do this amazing opportunity Justice. I cannot believe it. I CANNOT BELIEVE IT. I might be the first openly Black gay man living with HIV to deliver an address on #HIV #TasP #PrEP #MIPA #INCREASE #THRIVESS
And while on a plane Tuesday to Philly, he told the Georgia Voice that he planned to make full use of the opportunity:
“I plan to talk about the fact that HIV/AIDS is still an important issue for black gay, bisexual and same-gender loving men and transgender women of all ages. We have a one-in-two lifetime expectancy of being diagnosed with HIV if efforts are unchanged. One-in-two. We have to create an elevated conversation on ensuring people living with HIV have access to safe, culturally appropriated care, and that other black gay men and transgender women who are seronegative have the right to stay that way with the help of PrEP.”
PrEP is short for pre-exposure prophylaxis, which is when people at very high risk for HIV take HIV medicines daily to lower their chances of getting infected.