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“ SOME PEOPLE LIVE A LIFETIME AND
“SOME PEOPLE LIVE
A LIFETIME AND
NOT KNOW WHY THEY’RE HERE.”
RAE LEWIS-THORNTON
HIV activist
ABOUT   PART I

HIV and the Journey Toward Zero sparks important conversations around the end of the HIV epidemic. What does “the end” mean for those who have been there from the start, those living with HIV today and those leading the way to an HIV-free future?

HIV and the Journey Toward Zero spotlights a Midwestern experience through the perspective of some of Chicago’s most prominent activists. The film is presented in partnership with the Chicago Department of Public Health, Tessa Films and local community organizations. Join us as we hear from long-term survivors, newly diagnosed individuals, clinicians, researchers and community leaders.

HIV and the Journey Toward Zero was nominated for a 2023 regional Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement for Documentary —Historical.

THE FACES BEHIND THE FILM

Jeff Berry

Since his HIV diagnosis in 1989, Jeff has spent his entire career advocating for people living with HIV/AIDS. He spent more than 30 years working for TPAN and its related publication, Positively Aware. He also co-founded The Reunion Project, the national alliance of long-term HIV survivors.

CAPRICE CARTHANS

Caprice is a trans advocate and author who has worked on HIV and LGBTQ issues for more than 30 years. She is the founder and executive director of Equity Alliance Health Illinois. Caprice is a member of the Board of Directors for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago and co-chair of the Chicago Area HIV Integrated Services Council. Caprice’s dedication to the LGBT movement is profiled in “To Survive on this Shore: Photographs and Interviews with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Older Adults.”

SANFORD E. GAYLORD

Sanford is an independent public health consultant with more than 25 years experience and leadership in the field of Public Health. He is a co-founding member of Black Alphabet, a Chicago nonprofit that produces the Black Alphabet Film Festival. Sanford co-starred in the award-winning, three-part film series Kevin’s Room, produced by the Chicago Department of Public Health.

MARTÍN J. GONZÁLEZ ROJAS

Martín specializes in HIV prevention and care, and has more than 20 years experience providing public health leadership. His expertise includes group facilitation, HIV/STI counseling and testing, implementation of science-based HIV Interventions and grant writing, with a special focus on prevention programs for adult and young MSM of color.

RAE LEWIS-THORNTON

Rae is an Emmy Award-winning AIDS activist and renowned social justice advocate. She received national acclaim for her story of living with HIV/AIDS in Essence magazine’s December 1994 issue, and has since been featured in Glamour, O The Oprah Magazine, Woman’s Day, Essence, Jet, Ebony, Emerge, Heart and Soul, The Washington Post and The Chicago Tribune. Rae released her memoir, Unprotected, in May 2022.

TERRY DUDLEY

Terry is a Black queer activist with extensive knowledge and experience in STI and HIV prevention, testing and treatment among men who have sex with men (MSM) and the LGBTQ+ community. Raised on the South Side of Chicago, Terry uses his own experience to understand the needs of queer folks of color, striving to ensure every voice is heard.

DAVID ERNESTO MUNAR

David is the current president and CEO of Howard Brown Health, and has devoted his entire professional career to supporting vulnerable populations through comprehensive care and prevention systems. He draws on both his career experience and perspective as a gay, bilingual Colombian-American man living with HIV. David spent 23 years at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC), where he held several positions including president and CEO.

PEDRO ALONSO SERRANO, MPH, CPH

Pedro works as a public health scholar-practitioner with the department of research at the CORE Center of Cook County Health, and an adjunct professor of clinical investigation at Northwestern University in Chicago. His research interests include minority health and health disparities, with a focus on sexual and gender minorities in the U.S.

RENSLOW SHERER, M.D.

Dr. Sherer has dedicated his career to caring for those living with HIV. He is a professor of infectious disease medicine and director of the International AIDS Training Center at the University of Chicago. He founded Chicago’s first HIV clinic at Cook County Hospital in 1982, and co-founded the AIDS Foundation of Chicago in 1985. He has numerous publications on the clinical and social impact of the HIV pandemic and is active in research on HIV prevention, care, model care programs and HIV care in China and Africa.

CYNTHIA TUCKER, DR. P.H.

Cynthia is a doctor of public health and SVP of prevention and community partnerships at the AIDS Foundation Chicago. She has worked in HIV for more than 20 years, and has been an invaluable leader for the organization’s prevention initiatives, capacity building and corrections case management and reentry initiatives.

EVANY TURK

Evany found her calling after being diagnosed with HIV in 2001 at age 24. Evany struggled with depression for several years, and even became homeless for a short time. Thankfully, therapy helped her overcome her stigma-induced trauma. Evany turned her pain into passion. For the past 15 years, this proud mother of two has worked in the community to proactively prevent the spread of HIV, and inspire those who have acquired HIV (or any STI) to live their best life with authenticity, dignity and a supreme sense of self-worth.