TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — It's a disease that impacts one out of 172 people here in the Big Bend.
"It changed my life completely. I was diagnosed in 1999."
Tracy has been HIV positive for more than two decades. It's a virus that wreaks havoc on your immune system and mental will.
"I went through all the emotions that go with it. I tried to kill myself and make it quicker. "
Now, she spends her life giving back.
"I changed I quit drinking and quit drugging and I started volunteering at AIDS agencies that help people with HIV."
One of those organizations happens to be Big Bend Cares.
"What we do is assist individuals that are affected by or impacted by HIV or AIDS."
Stephanie Schwartz is the Chief Development Officer for Big Bend Cares. Schwartz along with hundreds of neighbors are getting ready for the annual Tallahassee AIDS Walk. The walk-- raising awareness and money for families and friends impacted by the virus. A virus that kills almost 16,000 people in the US each year.
"It is immune-compromised, HIV is as well as COVID. So all of our clients are doing the very best they can."
The money needed to buy medication and supplies can also be overwhelming. Big Bend Cares and other organizations try to lift that burden.
"Over 33 percent of Care Point Clients do not have insurance that we served last year. So the money goes toward medical care. Money goes toward non-perishable food."
For Tracy, it means a lot to see the community give back.
"It's nice to know that..you're not alone. I am not alone in this fight."