Three Texans are on the list of Poz Magazine’s just- announced 5th Annual Poz 100 list.
The list recognizes men and women around the world who are fighting the good fight in the battle on HIV/AIDS:
“For the Fifth Annual POZ 100, we decided to focus on the future. For more than three decades, HIV/AIDS has been fought mostly by folks who were already adults when the epidemic began. In that time, a new generation has entered adulthood having only heard stories of the early days and never knowing a world without HIV. This new generation of advocates is fighting HIV/AIDS for a variety of reasons, but regardless of their motivation, these young people could be the ones to finally put an end to AIDS.
“To support their efforts, the 2014 POZ 100 celebrates youth power. Once again, we reached out to the HIV community and asked you to nominate individuals for this year’s list. The 2014 POZ 100 highlights unsung heroes under the age of 30 who are taking a stand against HIV/AIDS. These young leaders come from across the country — and around the world. Some are HIV positive and some are HIV negative, which seemed appropriate since everyone, regardless of their HIV status, should be encouraged to join the struggle.
“As always, we do not regard this list as definitive. How could it be? Globally, there are countless young people doing their part to end the epidemic. But we know you will be inspired by our list of young AIDS advocates. They have the energy and the intelligence to combat stigma, link our communities to care and find new and innovative ways to thwart HIV/AIDS. In other words, they have the power to end the epidemic.”
Texans on the list are Byanca Parker, 21, of Dallas; Miguel Garcia, 29, of Harlingen; and Greg’ry Revenj, 25, of Austin.
Parker was born HIV-positive but wasn’t diagnosed until she was 7 years old. Her mother died of AIDS-related complications three years later. Parker shares her story to help save lives and to encourage others to get tested and known their HIV status. She uses social media to raise awareness, has appeared in Rise Up to HIV’s No Shame About Being HIV-Positive campaign and volunteers every summer at Camp Hope, the first camp for HIV-positive children in Texas.
Garcia, who is HIV-negative, is a linkage to care specialist a the Valley AIDS Council in South Texas. VAC is the primary provider of HIV prevention, education and testing services, as well as medical care and social services for those living with HIV, in its 15-county region. Garcia works with newly-diagnosed people and HIV-positive people who have fallen out of care to connect them to the medical care they need. His coworkers said that Garcia, a veteran and father of a 3-year-old boy, puts in long hours to help his clients.
Although the design industry has long helped lead the way in raising funds and awareness around HIV/AIDS, Revenj is one of the few fashion designers who has been open about being HIV-positive himself. He grew up in Seattle, attending and dropping out of the Academy of Design there. He launched his own label, Revenj Jean Federation, in Seattle, and then moved himself and his clothing label to Austin. He tested positive earlier this year and chose to go public with his HIV status to use his positions and talents to fight the stigma that so often accompanies an HIV-positive status. He plans to launch his own anti-stigma campaign, “Educate Yo’self,” in January, and next spring will star in the second season of his YouTube reality show, ATX Life.
Go here to read the entire list.