Advocacy Starts with You
An advocate is someone who officially supports a certain cause a person who believes in that cause and wants to wholeheartedly support any way possible that they can.
An advocate uses their voice to help fight for those who cannot fight. Someone who works to make a change in the world in the lives of others.
Be sure to be informed and educated on the subject, or issue (problem) that you speak about. Many advocates are passionate about the cause and are driven to speak up loudly no matter what that takes for others to hear them.
They communicate how they feel to draw people in to listen to them. Because when they speak it really comes from the heart. An advocate inspires and empowers others and themselves.
You must put the work in
Advocacy is not as easy as you think, it takes challenging work and dedication.
There can be sleepless nights, anxiety, and stress, but when you want to fight for something none of this will stop you.
As an HIV advocate use statements that will engage or reach your audience (even videos) and that show and talk about what the problem is you want people to know about.
When doing that you want them to know who it impacts or affects. It is always great to give them some facts or even some data. That is why I say educate yourself.
Many times, when we share our journey (story) it helps them see how human we are and that these issues can also affect them in some way.
Especially when it comes to HIV because this virus just does not affect one person by itself, it affects us all.
Showing you compassion for others and how you do not want anyone else to find out that they are living with HIV.
Our journeys can save the lives of others repeatedly. Reaching one person makes all the difference in the world.
Becoming an advocate
To become an advocate one must read, read, read, it is easy to say I am living with HIV but if someone has questions how you will be able to assist them without knowing.
People reach out and want to know if they will live, they were to know how long it takes to find out if they have been exposed, and they want to know a way to get tested too (there are many ways now).
Then there are those who are just looking for some sort of support. If advocacy is what you genuinely want to be then learn the history of HIV and find out what part of advocacy is for you because there are so many areas to talk about.
We are all put here to help others, care for others, and to have compassion. What is for you is not for someone else. Stand strong on your word when you speak and do not back down.
Never allow other people to hinder your process, what is for you is for you!
Have you ever been unhoused or insecurely housed?