The non-profit organization my group chose for our YPI presentation was Housing Works. We felt that HIV/AIDS was a very important social issue in New York City, and Housing Works was the perfect non-profit. Housing Works provides services and support for those with HIV. Charles King founded Housing Works to raise awareness, and get rid of stigma of having HIV. At first, I did not know much about HIV in general, and to be honest it had never personally affected any I knew, so I never really had to give it much thought.
Coordinating our visit was a hard task and our busy schedules did not work with the busy schedules of those at Housing Works. I definitely learned about communication in terms of being respectful and patient before and during our visit. I found a rewarding part of the project was learning more about HIV and also giving hope to these people that young kids, like ourselves, want to take action in addressing HIV. It was a challenge to create the right questions to ask the people we were interviewing, and then incorporate their answers into our presentation. We actually got to interview someone who had been affected by HIV and was helped by Housing Works. I learned that it is possible for someone with HIV to be virally suppressed, making it very hard to transmit the disease. Also, I learned that HIV can only be transmitted through bodily fluids, not by hugging someone or sitting on a toilet seat that someone with HIV had sat on, common misconceptions. Although we didn’t win the $5,000 grant, I’m going to try to raise awareness and silence the stigma of HIV. Researching and visiting Housing Works was an amazing experience that really opened my eyes to the reality of HIV.