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HIV advocate shares his story as UNMC hosts 'Black HIV & AIDS Awareness' Event this Friday

Tommy Dennis, an advocate for HIV, emphasizes the importance of overcoming stigmas and helping others in their journey.
Nebraska Aids Project
Posted at 8:32 PM, Feb 13, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-14 11:33:57-05
  • Video shows available resources in the North Omaha at the non-profit organization, Nebraska Aids Project facility.
  • Tommy Dennis, an HIV advocate, shares how he got involved with his community after his diagnosis 14 years ago.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:
Research shows that the Black community is disproportionately hit with AIDS and HIV. However, the virus can be controlled and slowed when initiating hard conversations, routine testing, and getting educated on the topic and resources in the community.

Local groups are rallying to educate all people on HIV and AIDS in the Black community.

I met with HIV Advocate Tommy Dennis, who was diagnosed with HIV 14 years ago but used his journey of hurdles... to help others.

Tommy Dennis, an HIV advocate, says, "Having the knowledge...or that conversation, I wish someone would have that conversation with me to let me know about their status, so I did not want to do that to anyone else,"

After being diagnosed, Dennis went through many stages to regain his confidence, which turned into a passion for raising awareness.

Dennis says, "While I'm navigating this journey of hating myself because this was now my reality. I wanted to do something meaningful because I didn't want my experience to be someone else experience,"

Ten years after his diagnosis, Dennis connected with the Nebraska Aids Project because the did not feel that he was represented when it came to HIV.

Dennis says, "I didn't see anyone else that looked liked me, that represented the community I was from. There wasn't anyone that I could relate to,"

Now Dennis is making sure no one else feels like that. He is working with the Nebraska Aids Project and other groups to educate people in Omaha about the importance of talking about HIV and Aids and ways to prevent infections.

On Friday, at the Highlander, UNMC Community Wellness Collaborative and the Nebraska AIDS Project will host their "Black HIV & AIDS awareness" event.