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Jeremiah Johnson

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HIV Prevention Research and Policy Coordinator

 

Jeremiah Johnson is TAG’s first HIV Prevention Research and Policy Coordinator. Like so many working in the field of HIV/AIDS, Jeremiah’s career in HIV/AIDS advocacy has grown from his personal experiences with the virus. Jeremiah was 25 when he was diagnosed with HIV—part of a young gay male demographic that is especially vulnerable to HIV infection in the United States. Serving as a Peace Corps volunteer at the time, Jeremiah immediately found himself dealing with discrimination when the Peace Corps decided to dismiss him from service based solely on his HIV status. He took action, and with the help of the ACLU he soon had the Peace Corps’s policy overturned. The experience fueled his passion for advocacy and, ever since, he has been determined to combat other laws and policies that discriminate against people living with HIV/AIDS or those who are most at risk for it.

Over the past five years, Jeremiah has sought out experiences and education in order to better understand where the system failed him and where it continues to fail others in terms of HIV treatment and prevention. This drive has taken him to Peru to work with an AIDS service organization; to rural Colorado, where he worked as a case manager and prevention specialist for two years; to an internship with the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS; and, most recently, to Columbia University to study public health. Along the way, he has seen a great deal of confusion around HIV prevention and encountered misconceptions about those living with the virus or those most at risk for it. As part of TAG, he hopes to counteract this by promoting better surveillance methods, effective utilization of existing and future research, and prevention strategies that take into account the true complexity of HIV in the United States.

Jeremiah was honored by POZ magazine as one of the top 100 HIV/AIDS activists in the United States in 2010.