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WHY I WALK: C. Andrew Martin, DNP, MS, RN, ACRN, CHPN
Please join me as I raise funds and awareness for AIDS Walk Austin 2016! An estimated 7,000 Central Texans are living with HIV/AIDS, and about 20% of them are not aware of their status due to not getting tested. The AIDS Walk benefits AIDS Services of Austin. Founded in 1987, ASA is the region’s oldest and largest community organization addressing the local AIDS crisis. Annually, we provide direct care services to over 1,500 people and HIV prevention education to over 10,000 people.
It was twenty years ago today that my then life partner, Gil Victor Ornelas (1954-1996), died peacefully of AIDS in our home in Dover, NH, with the support of the loving staff of Seacoast Hospice and our wonderful circle of friends and family. End-of-life caregiving someone you love can be a life altering event; and March 30th 1996 became the official start of my life’s goal to work toward a world without HIV/AIDS. HIV/AIDS of 1996 was a different landscape from HIV/AIDS of 2016. Life prolonging HIV medications have turned HIV from a horrific death sentence to a chronically managed disease with the hope of living a full lifespan…but only when HIV medication is taken daily. Only ~30% of the >1.2 million individuals living with HIV in the US are HIV medication adherent and have reached HIV viral load suppression. Medication adherence to achieve viral suppression is the goal of my work at AIDS Services of Austin and medication adherence with the technological support of a smart phone application was the focus of my recent DNP scholarly research project.
Please join me in supporting the important work of promoting HIV medication adherence with a goal of achieving an AIDS free generation in our lifetime. I walk annually in memory of my beloved Gil and all the many friends that were lost to the epidemic during the 1980s-1990s; I walk in honor of all the HIV clients I serve in Central Texas, as they struggle with medication adherence; and I will walk because I have miraculously survived this epidemic and can walk as their advocate.
Hugs and love,
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