On Monday, December 12, the Durham County Board of Commissioners officially proclaimed December 14 as HIV Cure Research Day. Dr. Allison Mathews reflected on the importance of the day, “HIV Cure Research Day marks the one year anniversary of the founding of the 2BeatHIV project, which has far reaching impacts in North Carolina and across the world. I’m excited and proud to announce that Durham is the first city in the world to proclaim this day.” The purpose of HIV Cure Research Day is to promote community involvement in shaping the future of HIV cure research. Along with Dr. Mathews, Drs. David Margolis (Founder and Director of the UNC HIV Cure Center) and Stuart Rennie (UNC Department of Social Medicine) were also in attendance to accept the proclamation. Durham County Commissioner Chair, Wendy Jacobs, reflected on the endeavor, “This is just great. Thank you for bringing this project to Durham.”
To celebrate the proclamation, the 2BeatHIV project hosted a Proclamation Jam Session at Beyu Caffe, where approximately 70 people were in attendance. The event provided a review of the project’s accomplishments and summarized community feedback on the next steps to ensure equity in HIV prevention, treatment, and cure efforts for people affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Angela Vick-Lewis, a long-time advocate for HIV awareness, performed a poem and shared her story, “When I learned that I was HIV positive, I made a pact with God to share my story and raise awareness about HIV.” Additionally, Nasir Jones Harvard Hip Hop Fellow, Dasan Ahanu, performed an original theme song for the 2BeatHIV project entitled, “Spit for a Cure.” But the highlight of the evening was the premiere of the trailer for the documentary about the project, “30,000,000:1 – Crowdsourcing a Cure for HIV,” which features interviews by Durham residents, HIV cure researchers, and highlights from 2BeatHIV’s development over the course of a year. The official benefit organization for the event was Red-Alert, which was founded by Nequa Powell and Sharisse Berry, two pharmaceutical doctorate students at Hampton University, who won the 2BeatHIV Innovation Challenge in May 2016. The event was co-sponsored by Beyu Caffe, Walgreens, Greater than AIDS, MATI Energy Drinks, and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Area Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. To close out the celebratory activities, 2BeatHIV hosted a Twitter chat on Wednesday, December 14 at 4PM with K97.5’s Nikki Nicole Davis and RaeMonique Blount (as seen on Love and Hip Hop New York).
Check out photos from this event here!