“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead

Time flies! It seems like yesterday that a small group of rabble rousers all met together in Dr. Brinson’s office to talk about the urgent need for PrEP and its benefits for the community. With the HIV infection rate going up dramatically in younger populations, when would there be action?

We decided then and there that we were going to do something. And, we did. We opened Austin’s first PrEP clinic just a few weeks after that initial meeting. I remember it well, that opening day on May 9th. It was scary, but Dr. Brinson and the team made it happen.

Since then, and it wasn’t long ago, the organization has matured and the team has grown. With over 40 volunteers, the Austin PrEP Access Clinic has been able to enroll over 200 people. Our board has added new members to support our mission and I am very honored to serve with the nine others representing a diverse range of skill, backgrounds and communities. The board is made up of two doctors, several HIV activists, four business owners, a lawyer, a CFO, an educational advocacyer, an executive director, and a tech guy. The one thing that I have found in common, however, is a deep passion for our cause and that they are all really smart! I’m particularly happy about the smart part because I need some help in that area most of the time.

For a scrappy, little (not that little anymore!) organization, we have come far in just 5 months. We are now competing with the likes of San Francisco in number of enrollments, and that’s no small feat for a nearly 100% all-volunteer outfit. I’m extremely proud of our early leadership and model for other cities, but there’s so much more we can do that needs to be done. If all goes according to plan, before you know it, 2018 will be here, and HIV infection will be a story of the past.

On behalf of the board and the entire team, I invite you to learn more about what the Austin PrEP Access Project does for our community. Join us.

Mark Erwin
Chair, Texas Health Action

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