2024 SHIF Leadership Development Cohort

SHIF focuses on the needs of individuals and communities affected by HIV in the South around three primary areas: prevention, care and support, in addition to policy, advocacy, and movement building. Members of the cohort are both new and established advocates, acting individually or leading local movements, all of which work for goals like ending HIV stigma, sexual health and positivity and more. To end the HIV epidemics we need more than data, we need action. Grassroots movements, such as we see with the 2024 SHIF cohorts, are key. Through this work strategic communications, grant writing/fundraising and advocacy will continue to center around principals of racial justice. This is key, as newly released CDC data reveals that racial inequities remain a major factor in combating the HIV epidemic.

Who are the members of the cohort this year?


Traditionally, SHIF leaders ask the new cohort the question: how are you SHIFting the narrative in the South? Here are their answers.

How are you SHIFting the narrative in the South?

Alex Santiago, I Am Human Foundation

Black and LatinX transmen are often left out of conversations in regards to HIV prevention. I am shifting the narrative by making sure the healthcare for transmen me of color are represented by advocating for inclusion in PrEP trials, and ensuring physicians and their staff are trained in trans bodies.


Brandon DeJean, The Gretna Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
It’s important to shift the narrative around HIV prevention by telling real life stories and showing others how to live a healthy wonderful life. I help educate people to check their status and follow up with doctor’s visits.



David Wyley Long, Southern AIDS Coalition

I am SHIFting by finding joy in the work. This career and virus have showed me plenty of sorrow, but this year (2024) I am finding joy and fullness. This shift was needed for me to live more fully, but also be more upbeat to the community at large, as well, propel the movement to greater light. If we shift and show the beauty of what we have discovered and created, we can have a beautiful mosaic of LIFE. I look forward to shifting with fearless leaders across the county as we work towards a better future for all.

Eboni Sims, AID Upstate

Through our transformative Positive Change program and comprehensive support initiatives, we are shifting the narrative in the South around HIV prevention, care, treatment, and social/racial advocacy by providing a safe and empowering space for transgender and gender-nonbinary people of color to access vital resources, engage in open dialogue, and receive culturally competent care. By prioritizing confidentiality, addressing unasked questions, and fostering community engagement, we are challenging stigma, promoting education, and advocating for equitable healthcare access, ultimately leading to greater awareness, acceptance, and empowerment within our community.
My focus will be community engagement. Working with local leaders, faith based organizations and community groups to foster an environment that supports open discussions about HIV and eliminate stigma. Engagement includes listening to community concerns and incorporating their voices into the advocacy work.

Joey Streeter, Normal Anomaly

I am contributing to the efforts of SHIFting the Narrative in the South by reaching out to our community in unique and non-traditional ways and locations. I aim to demonstrate to the community that I am just like them and that I am committed to effecting positive change. Furthermore, I remain transparent and well-informed about issues that directly impact our community.

Kendrick Bankhead, A Vision 4 Hope

I’m shifting the narrative by doing outreach and engaging in the community. Data shows there is a huge need for testing in rural areas in south Georgia where I’m planning on expanding more outreach to help those in need. I also keep an open line of communication to share my knowledge and thoughts and how we can end the epidemic together.


Kimberly Guerrero, Eagle Pass SAFE

I’m trying to change the mindset of people in my city from being closed-minded to being open-minded and aware of the seriousness of this spread.



Rachel Frison, Transgender Women of Color Healing Project

The work that I’m continuing is very personal because of my personal experience I try my very best to inform and affirm individuals like myself to get into care and stay in care, offering emotional and financial support for those who fall on hard times.


Tierra Ruth, Texas Southern University

I host on campus engagement events to raise awareness about HIV prevalence.