CONFRONTING AIDS in D.C.
where about 1 in 20 residents is infected
A RED RIBBON symbol of the fight against AIDS is tattooed on José Ramirez's neck and posted prominently on the bulletin board in his office.
"It's me; it's who I am," says Ramirez, 26, coordinator of the Youth Mpowerment programs at D.C.'s Clinica del Pueblo. "It opens up conversations."
Ramirez, who educates young gay and bisexual Latino men about AIDS prevention, is working to slow the increase in cases. A recent Kaiser FamilyFoundation survey found that Hispanics in the District have the highest rate of new AIDS cases in the country, about
110 per 100,000 people.
"It really does change your life," says Ramirez who learned of his HIV-positive status as a 17-year-old high school student in Durham, N.C. "I haven't cried about it, yet. I want to be strong about it. I think that's what helps me."
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED ©2008 Nikki Kahn