Trauma and HIV/AIDS

David Jenkin’s story reveals a great deal about the largest unaddressed risk factor in HIV/AIDS transmission, namely trauma.

Childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and intimate partner violence are common causes of trauma and violence in vulnerable populations. Below are important statistics about violence and trauma and its connection to HIV/AIDS. In comparison to the general population, people living with HIV tend to report experiencing more traumatic life events, particularly those that are violent & abusive. [Read more…]

Truth Aid Salutes David Jenkins

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 16, 2008Contact:     Dr. Mehret Mandefro, Founding Executive Director, TruthAIDS, 857.928.2711,

David Foxworth Jenkins, a musician and famed HIV positive activist, died September 15, 2008 at the age of 61.  David had a long and esteemed life fighting for gay rights and the rights of HIV positive people.  He was part of the June 1969 Stonewall Uprising in NYC that is credited with sparking the gay pride movement.  David was diagnosed with HIV in 1981 when the virus had yet to be named and his activism soon followed.David’s activism entered academia when he met Dr. Mindy Fullilove, a research psychiatrist at Columbia University who was at the forefront of HIV prevention research in urban communities. David’s collaboration with Dr. Mindy Fullilove is featured in her 2004 book Root Shock: How tearing up city neighborhoods hurts America and what we can do about it? His life is discussed at length in Chapter 6, “When the center fails…” When Dr. Fullilove was recently asked about the source of David’s activism she responded: “He’s a good friend and when he sees somebody else hurt, he takes it seriously. Other people think if you’re hurt that’s not my problem. But that’s not David. If you’re hurt, it’s his problem. He’s a good friend.”David’s friendship, light and love were at the source of everything he did. So was his faith and music.  In his final years of life, he was a piano player in three different churches in West Philadelphia: Beulah Baptist, Mount Zion, and Evangel Temple.  The latter had a special place in his heart and is noted for having allowed him to give his final testimony about HIV and the black church.  His testimony at Evangel Temple was recorded and posted on numerous websites, including the 2008 International AIDS Conference in Mexico City. A conference attendee who saw David’s testimony wrote:More and more elderly are diagnosed with HIV. As the disease is shifted from being death sentence into chronic condition people live much longer. I’ve recently took care of elderly woman in her 70s. Her HIV doctor manages her HIV medications and I helped her to address long list of her social concerns and other chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, deconditioning, poor nutrition and more. As part of my routine assessment I asked her about spiritual/religious beliefs. She responded with smile and “but of course, “that what keeps me going”. It was striking to me that here she was, slowly nearing her last weeks of life and yet she was in more peace with her place in life than I was with hers and frankly mine. After watching the movie, that same feeling came over me. David is not only in peace with himself and his place in life he acts from this place of peace, and that touches people, I’m sure of that. Thank you TruthAIDS for sharing David’s story with us. ( was a gentle giant that touched people wherever he went. He was a wonderful “TruthAIDS teacher” and spent the last 6 months filming the story of his life, David the Piano Player, in Philadelphia with Dr. Mehret Mandefro.  This film will be a visual legacy that teaches about what one person can do to change life for others. He is survived by Mayford Sloan, Leroy Jenkins, Gus Jenkins, Marion Corbin, Kathleen Mann and 15 nieces and nephews.David the Piano Player, is the first multimedia project in the TruthAIDS Oral Histories Series that teaches about the societal determinants of health at the University of Orange.