Alternative Break Spotlight: Blythe

Blythe Dellinger  

Trip Leader for It’s Not Them but Us - Turning the Tide on HIV/AIDS: Washington, DC

"I chose the "It’s Not Them but Us - Turning the Tide on HIV/AIDS: Washington, DC" Alternative Breaks trip because as a Global and Community Health major, I was looking to learn about social determinants of health.
My trip deepened my understanding of health stigma and educated me of the impacts sexual education, harm reduction, and food insecurity on people who are HIV positive, or are at high-risk of becoming HIV positive. Learning about these risk factors helped me further realize of the importance of volunteerism and the impact of recognizing societal issues on a human-level of equality while also utilizing my privilege to help others.
The systemic stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS is proliferated by factors such as the lack of coordinated standards for sexual education, criminalization of substance use and sex work, and “othering” people who identify within the LGBTQ+ community. This social issue means a lot to me because it taught me so much about the power of community activism and the importance of listening to people with lived experience.
The SAIL office offers great resources for Patriots wanting to take social action. It is always important to take social action and be a part of progressive change in society."