CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Annual United States Conference on AIDS was held during early September and local advocates and healthcare workers were able to attend and represent the Charlotte area.

Advocates from all over the U.S. joined together to share experiences and learn from each other during the educational conclave.

Included in the contingency was Different Roads Home CEO and President Dale Pierce.

“The atmosphere was one of revitalization of the spirit of what we do,” he said.

Pierce added, “One of the themes that came out of the conference was that as great as the Affordable Care Act may be for those with HIV, we still have to advocate for more changes and make sure the focus does not shift off of education and prevention.”

A spotlight on HIV/AIDS in the south was targeted during the conference.

Conference-goers were able to meet Denver, Colo.-native Armando Thomas “Mondo” Guerra, a winner of “Project Runway All Stars.” During his time on the reality show, he revealed his HIV status.

Guerra spoke at the conference’s main plenary and reminded everyone about being aware of one’s HIV/AIDS status, as well as being true to dreams and desires, no matter the circumstances. He tirelessly works to educate the public about the issues surrounding HIV/AIDS.

In other news, Different Roads Home is seeking Ryan White Memorial Scholarship Fund applications. Deadline is Nov. 1. Recipients will receive the awards at the 4th Annual Evening of Hope & Inspiration on Nov. 23.

The Good Road Project is in search of mentors who can share their experience with those who have received a positive diagnosis and “is having difficulty coping with illness, and/or struggling with treatment, knowledge and adherence. Training for the post must be completed before pairing with a mentee. Email to learn more. An application is available online.


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Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen was formerly QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director from 2001-2019 when she retired.