Local AIDS activist Kekoa Yap was named to POZ Magazine‘s top 100 list of national “Unsung Heroes.” POZ–an award-winning print and online brand for those affected by and living with HIV/AIDS–included Yap on the 2013 POZ 100 list which honors those who are making a tangible difference in their respective communities.
“Each person—in his or her own unique way—is taking a brave stand against the virus,” POZ editor-in-chief Oriol Gutierrez said of the individuals named on the fourth annual list.
Gutierrez said they may not consider themselves heroes, but POZ does. “They are fighting back,” he said. “From people who volunteer for AIDS service organizations or work as policy advocates, to those who act as educators to promote prevention and treatment, this list represents an incredibly diverse spectrum of people living with HIV and making a difference on the front lines in their communities.”
For the first time in the history of the POZ 100, all of the people on the list are inflicted with the virus. This year’s Unsung Heroes list includes individuals of all ages, ethnicities, genders and sexual orientations from across the United States and Puerto Rico. They come from a variety of careers ranging from bloggers and activists to doctors and educators – and represent a diverse population of people affected by the virus.
“Because they are living with the virus themselves, these individuals have a unique understanding of what needs to be done and how best to do it,” Gutierrez said. “They know what it’s like to be newly diagnosed and how it feels to deal with HIV-related stigma and discrimination. They understand the challenges of accessing care, treatment and support. By sharing their stories, they are not only inspiring others living with the virus but also empowering themselves and the entire HIV community.”
POZ hopes the people named on this year’s POZ 100 will inspire others with their passion to effect change in the world. POZ hopes that sharing their stories will help with the public better understand that the fight against HIV/AIDS continues.
To see the full list, visit poz.com/100.