AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria affect millions of people worldwide, and the Here I Am campaign, which is managed by the Global Fund Advocates Network (GFAN), is asking world leaders to fund the fight against these diseases.
To take away some of the stigma and show the reality of people living with illness, the campaign is releasing a series of vids starring people who have AIDS/HIV, TB and malaria. One of the vids is of Carlos “Carlitos” Miguel, a young man from the Dominican Republic who has HIV.
Carlitos was on his own at an early age, and in order to make money he got involved in sex work. He was only 11 when he got himself tested and learned he had HIV. He was shunned by family, but he stayed strong. In his clip, Carlitos talks about the importance of using condoms for protection, and he also debunks myths about HIV/AIDS.
"Know that to live with HIV ... is not to stay fallen, is not to let someone push you, it's not a death sentence. It's to live looking forward always," he said.
+ Watch Carlitos share his story.
People can live long, healthy lives with HIV/AIDS, but they need medical treatment. In the Dominican Republic, there are 57,000 people with HIV, but only 17,100 receive necessary treatment. Funding would not only help people who have HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria, but it would also work on preventative measures.
So why are these videos being released now? It’s almost time for world leaders to sit down and decide how much money will be given to fight AIDS, TB and malaria in the coming years. The video ends with an easy call to action that can help make this happen: all you have to do is sign a petition. There are many people out there in Carlitos’ shoes, and now’s the time to act on this issue.