M-DC ranks 3rd in nation in AIDS cases

caines | 2/7/2013, 4:30 a.m.

Two brothers use their status to help others

Duane Cramer, 50, is an award-winning photographer who lives in San Francisco living with HIV/AIDS. His father, a noted professor at Howard University, died from AIDS-related complications in 1986. Now Cramer is part of national awareness campaign, Mercks I Design, in which he brings his compassion to help others that are infected. When I first found out I was HIV-positive, I had a lot of knowledge and education about the virus, he said. I had ample resources and the support of others. But there are far many today who dont. The campaign has apps and resource pages that will help those that are HIV-positive more easily manage their lives. HIV today is a manageable chronic condition. But there are side effects with the medications. We can stop the spread of HIV it takes common sense, always using a condom and never sharing needles. We can turn this thing around. Phill Wilson, founder and executive director, Black AIDS Institute, agrees. Having the tools is not enough ending the AIDS epidemic is going to require a commitment on our part all of us. That includes ending the stigma, marginalization and isolation that comes with those who are HIV-positive. Empower U Inc. will host a confidential rapid testing and counseling outreach event on Thursday, Feb. 7 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the agency office, 8309 NW 22nd Avenue. Call 786-318-2337 fro more information. For more about the annual awareness day, visit www.blackaidsday.org. By D. Kevin McNeirkmcneir@miamitimesonline.com