Dc Gigs: Fighting Hiv/aids (Transcript) | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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DC Gigs: Fighting HIV/AIDS

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

13:34:37
Washington, D.C. has been ranked first in a lot of things. The percentage of residents with college degrees, overall vegetarian friendliness. We're even being heralded as the first place to launch such an extensive bike sharing program. But here's a first you won't want to celebrate. Compared with other cities in the United States, D.C. ranks number one in the rate of HIV infection. Which is why many people in the district are doing what they can to fight it.

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

13:35:07
Like, Dwayne Lawson Brown. For the past ten years, the D.C. native has been educating young people on HIV prevention by advocating safe sex and healthy lifestyles. For this week's installment of D.C. Gigs, our series highlighting people who work distinctively D.C. jobs, Producer Marc Adams paid Brown a visit. And learned he's willing to do whatever it takes to get the message across to our youth.

MR. DWAYNE LAWSON BROWN

13:35:34
There are a lot of theories about HIV started. My name is Dwayne Lawson Brown. I'm the community outreach coordinator at Metro Teen Aids. But it doesn't even matter, how it started, how it came to be, don't matter because now it's here. So what are we going to do about? Today I lead a workshop on HIV and AIDS, called HIV 101 for the men. I called it, "About our Brothers," because it was all about informing brothers around HIV, how we need to protect ourselves, what things we can do and really talking a little bit more about our personal issues around health and managing our own personal safety.

MR. DWAYNE LAWSON BROWN

13:36:12
The lower your white blood cell count or your T-cell count and the higher your viral load, that gets you that AIDS diagnoses. The most challenging part of working around HIV and AIDS, for me, is knowing that there's so much that needs to be done. Washington, D.C. has the highest HIV infection rate in the country. Right now, it's estimated that 1 in 20 people across Washington, D.C. are infected with HIV.

MR. DWAYNE LAWSON BROWN

13:36:37
Straight, gay, bi, transgender, questioning, no matter your social political ranking, no matter, like, what you do for your job, you can get HIV. And so what I -- what we're seeing is that people are being informed and learning about protecting themselves. And when they do, they protect themselves for a period in time but then somewhere along the line, somewhere between 25 and 36, folks are starting to engage in more risking behavior.

MR. DWAYNE LAWSON BROWN

13:37:08
And starting to not use condoms. So we're trying to figure out, what's happening and what can we do to make that information last longer? If you do find out that you're positive in Washington, D.C., you can get your HIV medication. So if you find out that you're positive, we can get you connected to care. We all know somebody who's HIV positive whether we know it or not. There is a possibility that you've dated somebody who was HIV positive and not known.

MR. DWAYNE LAWSON BROWN

13:37:32
You may have had sex with somebody who's HIV positive and not know. You may be positive yourself and not know. There's so many factors to take in, that I really felt like, you know, if nobody else is going to do it, then I'm going to do it. And hopefully somebody will listen to me where they might not listen to their teacher or to a lecturer or something like that. We've all been there before, after the metaphors and the flashy dialogue. You done let them through the door and money looking cute, Mommy looking fine. So you don't see nothing wrong with a little bump and grind.

MR. DWAYNE LAWSON BROWN

13:38:01
I use any of my messages, any of the things that I personally like to do to get the message across. So I'll spit (sounds like) you a pawn, I'll make a scarf with a AIDS ribbon in it, I'll do whatever needs to be done to get the message across about HIV prevention. Ya'll, we know what we're dealing with. It's some real -- a lot going on out here. We got to be safe to stay in the clear. Three letters, those three letters.

SHEIR

13:38:26
That was HIV/AIDS worker Dwayne Lawson Brown. Marc Adams brought us his story.

SHEIR

13:38:36
If you have a D.C. gig you think we should feature on the show, we want to hear about it. Send us an e-mail at metro@wamu.org.
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