PrEP is Powerful

Teyanna Veasy’s life motto has been “Be the change you want to see.” and she has been doing just that in a career that has spanned over 8 years in public health and community advocacy. Teyanna hails from Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she got her start as a Counseling Test and Referral Specialist for the local organization, Diverse and Resilient. She continued on her journey at the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin as Facilitator for a CDC intervention, “Many Men Many Voices.” Teyanna is co- founder and current board secretary for Monroe Inc. She has used her passion and experience to advocate for communities of color disproportionately affected by high HIV and STI rates, homophobia, transphobia, institutionalized racism, and economic disparities.

Teyanna currently works for Howard Brown Health as a TGNC Youth HIV Intervention Specialist. She works to educate high-risk communities about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and how it can be accessed at Howard Brown. Teyanna is on the US- Women’s PrEP working group. She is a lover of fashion and food and enjoys the small adventures of Chicago’s city life.

“I got into HIV work in the early 2000s. As a young person, there were friends of mine who were becoming HIV positive. I saw firsthand how HIV stigma could harm a person and harm a community. It made me want to do something, so I got involved by joining the Diverse and Resilient Youth Advisory Board, and forming Monroe Inc.

Since learning about PrEP and working with at-risk communities, I find it is really important to be a voice for change, and that we do this Prep workright. PrEP has impacted my life by giving me another platform to stand up for the people I serve. It has impacted my community by providing another option that they didn’t think was possible. PrEP has opened the door for more conversations around HIV, stigma, and sexuality.

I personally continue to do this work because I go home to communities that are at risk. They are my friends, my family, and my lovers. I do this because I watched two young people, one of whom I mentored, die of HIV-related complications. Neither made it past 25, something that’s not supposed to happen in this day and age. I vowed to work harder so that this would never happen again. I vowed to learn all I can and push the buttons when the buttons needed to be pushed because these are my people. I have a responsibility to them.

As the current PrEP Engagement Specialist, my work hasimpacted my community by providing culturally sensitive materials and education where most don’t know that PrEP exists. My work is act as a bridge between PrEP and the community. It is important to see a black transgender woman in this way, a way that is not shown often, creating access to education, health, and wellness. I would like to see my community liberated from health disparities, racism, transphobia, sexism, and homophobia. I would to see LGB and TGNC communities healthy and thriving.”

For additional information about PrEP or to make an appointment, call 773.388.8885. You can also send an e-mail to prep@howardbrown.org for more information.