HOUSTON (FOX 26) - The Houston "I Am Life" Campaign is a pledge to be truthful, responsible, and safe about HIV.
It's also an important awareness campaign about how to prevent the spread of the disease. We met up with an ambassador of the program, as he encourages others to live responsibly with the disease.
Issy Joseph wants to be a positive force in our community. He's working with the Houston Health Department and dozens of others who want to get the word out about how to prevent HIV by taking PREP, one pill a day.
Tests of the prescription drug, Truvada, show it's a successful tool that reduces the risk of HIV infection in people who are HIV negative.
Issy also wants to bust stigmas about living with HIV. He landed in the hospital, after refusing to take medications to treat it.
"When I was diagnosed in 2014, I knew I was living with the virus for about two years, too afraid to confront it, all those stigmas built up in my head. I felt like people wouldn't want to be around me, talk to me, touch me, I felt unworthy, but that all changed once I started getting treatment and started educating myself," says Issy.
Now Issy says he consistently takes his medications, which make his disease undetectable, and he wants to encourage others to do the same.
"My key factor with treatment is get on it and stay on it, so you can be healthy! Once you achieve that undetectable status, you're untransmittable. That's proven by science, so love yourself and be happy," exclaims Issy.
Issy is an avid blogger on "Project Red Inc" doing his best to encourage others in the LGBTQ community, as an Ambassador for I Am Life.
"This is the first campaign like this! The city of Houston leads Texas with the number of HIV cases. Three out of five of those are African-American men and two out of five of those cases are African-American men between the age of 15 and 34, so it's uber exciting to be part of this, and for the city to be behind it. Now we put a face and name on it - we get to see people saying I'm living healthy and well and so can you," explains Issy.
Issy is living up to his campaign's goal of real people with real stories, making a real difference. For more information, click here.