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January 25, 2019 - ATN-YEAH Member Profile: Taylor Sherlock

Decorative image: Photo of TaylorCan you tell me a little bit about yourself? Such as where you are from, your age, where you live, and anything else you'd like to share.

My name is Taylor Sherlock and I am a 21 year-old, full-time student at Towson University. I am in my last year pursing my Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and Special Education. I am one of 4 children, I have 3 brothers who are 25, 23, and 17. I am very close to my family, including my mom, dad, brothers, and my dog. I am originally from Long Island, New York, and am a huge New York Giants fan, being from New York is something near and dear to me and love going back and visiting my family from there. I have been diagnosed HIV since July of 2014, when I was just 17 years old. Ever since then, I have had a burning passion for working and supporting HIV/AIDS research in any way that I can.

I got involved with Johns Hopkins Hospital, because that was where I was lucky enough to start receiving care. I soon began working with more studies and working with Johns Hopkins research, then becoming a member of multiple projects through other Universities, such as Wayne State University's Scale It Up project, and the ATN National Community Advisory Board, ATN YEAH.

Being a part of this organization has helped me grow in ways I never saw possible for myself. I know I have great self-worth and know what my purpose is and what I want to work for. I have realized what is important to me and have found my life's passion, which is to work tirelessly until a cure has been found for HIV. Not only that, but I want to work to support and improve the lives of all those who are fighting this everyday battle.

I want to work in developing my own organization that will work to achieve those goals. I want to work on researching new methods in treating HIV to help HIV+ people have the best lives possible. Without the ATN, I would never have known what was possible for myself, but now I feel more hungry than ever to see these goals and dreams come true.

 

Why did you choose to get involved with the ATN?

I wanted to get involved with the ATN because I had worked through the ATN to participate on the Scale It Up project as a board member, and I wanted to get more involved with not only my project, but all the research projects the ATN was running. I enjoyed getting to be focused on one aspect and getting to see how the individual committees work. I then got to see how my project was a piece of the whole puzzle that is the ATN. I loved every opportunity I had to listen to different presenters to learn about other projects and other research is being done with the same common goal in mind.

I think the ATN has a clear and focused group of researchers, doctors, and other partners that all have the same goal of trying to find ways to better prevent HIV infections as well as support people who are living with HIV and finding the best ways to help these people adhere to their treatment plans, as well as spreading awareness and ending stigmas surrounding HIV/AIDS. These 3 goals are the reasons that I love working with ATN and supporting those goals, which line up so closely with my own goals for my focus in working with HIV. I have had nothing but wonderful experiences working with the ATN, and I hope to continue to work with the ATN more going forward.

 

Why did you choose to get involved with the ATN over other HIV/AIDS organizations?

I feel as a youth living with HIV, ATN has the most research benefiting the youth. I have felt that the ATN values what the youth have to say and want to make sure that they are reaching this population in the best ways. Anytime I have given feedback to any project or presentation, I have felt that the professional has been soaking in my feedback and values everything I have to say.

As a person who is living with HIV, I feel that I am valued just as highly to the ATN, because I am really the best expert on HIV, as I live with it every day. This mutual respect that I have felt with all of my partners associated with the ATN is the reason why I have continued to work with the organization. I hope to get to continue to support the ATN with this and all future projects.

 

What are you proud of doing in regards to your affiliation with the ATN?

I am so proud for all of the success we have had in working to find solutions to very prominent problems in regards to HIV prevention and care among the youth, ages 13-24, population. I think that we have found unique ways to utilize technology and social media to relate to that youth population. We have stepped up care and prevention techniques, that can best help our target population, ages 13-24 years old. I feel that we will continue to work on ways of having the most inclusive and universal methods to help reach all youth in the prevention stages in order to cut down on new infections.

I am also so proud of all of the work that I have seen so many people putting in to support the overall goal. The level of care and dedication I have seen across the board has been astounding. It is only because of the work of all those dedicated researchers, doctors, and advisors that the whole ATN is possible. I am so grateful to be able to work along side these professionals, to be a part of this ATN.

 

How long have you been affiliated with the ATN?

I first began working under the ATN through the Scale It Up! project in January of 2016, and I am continuing to work with that project based out of Detroit. I have also been serving as a member of the ATN National Youth Community Advisory Board since January of 2018.

 

What do you do in your role with the ATN?

I serve as a youth advisor to oversee all work and research, making sure that is relatable and applicable to the target audience. I review research and studies that are running through the ATN to see how that will work in regards to recruiting interest from the youth population. We also work on developing more ways that we can bring awareness to the cause in our own communities. We discuss what we feel are the current barriers facing youth in regards to access to information about HIV prevention and care, and how we can help bring more awareness to that in our communities. We also talk about stigmas facing HIV+ youth, and how we can work to end those stigmas.