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May 31, 2019 - Thriving & Living with HIV: Maurice Williams, Young Artist & ATN Youth Expert & Advocate for Health

Maurice Williams, young actor, singer, & spoken word artist, shares his story in this video. He's an ATN Youth Expert and Advocate for Health (ATN-YEAH).

Press play to watch, and view a transcript below the video.

 

 

Transcript:

I am Maurice Williams, I am from here, in Prince George’s County, Maryland. I am HIV positive, but that is not all to me. I am an artist, a triple threat but not to society. I love to sing, dance and act. I hope to use my position in ATN to push forth my artistic abilities in ways through spoken word, dance and playwriting.

Through the ATN I teach people that you can thrive with HIV. I was born with HIV and finding out at thirteen, I really did not know how to swallow that pill, for a lack of a better word. However, once I found out that, I had dreams, desires that were much, much bigger than a trip to the doctor’s every three months. It became hindsight, and I was able to put the pedal to the metal, so I feel that me being a part of ATN, as a lived example, this is only my second year, and I’m meeting other advocates who are strengthening me, giving me courage to be an advocate for myself, as an artist. I’m hoping to push forward messages of acceptance that destabilizes the stigma and push forward an agenda of ownership, accountability, and possibility.

I have learned through my role in the ATN, youth ATN, being the expert and the advocate in the room, that I’m more than just a number on the page and that everyone I meet and encounter and all the providers, physicians, the scientists, the investigators, they’re more than just an acronym.

I feel that the role of the physician in their patient’s life is very integral. They’re like family. It wasn’t until recently at Johns Hopkins that I found a physician that I could just sit down and open up to. Sitting with her, we like to call it check-ups. She’d sit down and say, so what you been up to? And by knowing me, she can properly diagnose me, and diagnosis isn’t always physical.

I learned through being a part of the ATN that there is a roadmap, there is a plan, a blueprint, that all the investigators are working on continuously, regardless of treatments or cures, that they haven’t forgotten about us.

(End of transcript)