Rafael Gonzalez, Community Programs Manager
Bridge HIV CRS, San Francisco, CA, USA
My work in HIV started in college when I took a course on anthropological biology as a pre-requisite for my degree in Psychology, and I wrote a paper where I drew a comparison between the finches on the Galapagos Islands to HIV and human cells. HIV was like the finches who would evolve based on their unique environment: the island or the human cell. Later that year, I applied to an internship through San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) called SHARP (Summer HIV AIDS Research Program). I was 1 of 5 students selected from across the nation to go through a summer of intensive learning within the extremely intersectional field of HIV. I was placed at Bridge HIV within SFDPH, and my research project that summer was to analyze a survey we had sent out to Bay Area-based Primary Care Providers about their knowledge of PrEP (Pre Exposure Prophylaxis) and willingness to prescribe it, as it had just been approved by the FDA.
Midway through my internship experience, I identified an open part-time Clinical Studies Recruiter position at Bridge HIV. I applied, got it, and the rest is history. While at Bridge HIV, I have been an intern, a recruiter, an educator, a research associate, and now Community Programs Manager. I have worked on a variety of studies from many different angles.
Not only do I feel exhilarated and humbled by what I get to contribute to my community on a local scale, I get to make an impact on a global scale by being a part of the HVTN. Specifically, my favorite thing about being a part of the HVTN are all the mentors it has provided me. You are all so inspiring!!