Yesterday was my first full day back in D.C. at work. We missed our flight home last Saturday and had to hang out in the airport all day before taking an overnight flight connecting in Detroit and getting in early Sunday AM. I was able to take Monday off to sleep in and do errands which was much appreciated!

It has been an eventful time lately with my adventures in California and D.C. The YAI was very successful and such an amazing experience. The other participants were from very diverse backgrounds and all brough something unique to the table. I learned a lot about advocacy and activism and how to do it effectively. Technicques such as birddogging, protesting, and the use of social media tools were all covered at YAI, among other things. I felt lucky to meet people who challenged my beliefs about my ability to enact change & progress where I see it needed. I also realized how my generation really needs to step up and take the mantle of responsibility on from those who are already tried and true advocates. There are so many serious challenges facing my generation right now yet life is much easier than it has ever been with the comforts available to us here in the U.S. so it can be hard to realize that global and national issues still need people to advocate for them. We have to step out of our comfort zone and be willing to take risks and try new things. Especially with HIV/AIDS advocacy, where it is a matter of life or death, getting the legislation we want passed will not always allow for passive and peaceful action.

Every 9.5 minutes someone in the U.S. get HIV and there are things that can be done to prevent the spread of the epidemic that IS occuring within our borders, not just in some far away developing country. Comprehensive sex education (I favor a national system that is implemented beginning in 5th grade), prevention (needle exchange, free condoms, free testing), and services (housing and free ARVs being the primary ones)  provide a multifaceted approach to ending AIDS.

Eliminating HIV and AIDS may sound like an unreasonable goal but it is the only one which we must attain.

Here are two photos from the demonstration: