The following is a letter from Paul Scot, Executive Director of ASA, published in the ASA UPDATE newsletter.

There are pivotal moments in our lives that send us in a new direction – sometimes by choice, sometimes by chance, and sometimes by fate. For our clients, those moments can cover a wide range of opportunities. AIDS Services of Austin’s staff and volunteers are here to help in those moments: the moment to educate how the use of a condom reduces HIV transmission, the moment you get an HIV test to know your status, the moment you accept the need for help accessing medical services, housing, dental care, food for you and your family, or a helping hand. 

For many of our supporters, that pivotal moment was when they looked into the eyes of a loved one or friend and heard them say, “I am HIV positive.” That moment was a catalyst to become educated, to start volunteering, to provide financial support, or to hold that loved one or friend a little closer.

Right now, it is important to stop and realize how much HIV is still impacting our lives and community. On February 24, 2016, the CDC reported from the 2016 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Boston: “…at current diagnosis rates, half of black gay men and a quarter of Latino gay men will be diagnosed with HIV within their lifetime.” Take a moment to think about what that could mean: If we don’t change strategies, expand healthcare and address health disparities, one-half of black gay man and one-quarter of Hispanic gay men will become positive.

AIDS Services of Austin is working to address health disparities with mobile testing and HIV education and outreach. The Q Austin is building new relationships in diverse communities to build social networks and to have sex-positive conversations. We continue to make the most of each moment to educate about the impact of HIV on a person’s life and on our community. Please take a moment to think about how you can help – volunteer with ASA, have a conversation with a friend about getting tested or getting on PrEP to prevent HIV transmission, or make a contribution through Amplify Austin. That moment can make a larger difference in the life of someone you care about.