Charles Adams is 63 years old and a 38-year HIV survivor and long-term advocate for the underserved in the HIV/AIDS community. Currently Charles is the GCAB Rep for the University of California San Francisco CRS. Charles joined the CAB at UCSF in 2015. Prior to that, Charles was a member of the Stanford CRS from 2001-2013 until it was closed. Charles also volunteers at an HIV-specific Food Basket program, a nonprofit HIV/AIDS law office in SF, and is a member of the Ryan White HIV Community Council for San Francisco.
It has been a long journey to get to where Charles is at today. He became ill in November 1983 while serving in the US Army and spent 30 days in the base hospital. It did not take long for his labs lead to an assumption of being gay, which then led to dismissal from the service within six months. Moving back to Missouri, the realization hit that staying there would lead to a good chance of dying from a lack of care. Researching where HIV care was the best, he decided to move to California. Relocating to Palo Alto and gaining access to Medi-Cal and Social Security was a life changer. Stability in life allowed him the opportunity to start looking for ways to give back to the HIV community. Once the volunteering started, direct client services has always been what has kept him going.
Being a member of the Stanford/SF CABs and being able to learn about, review and give input on protocols has given him a great sense of empowerment. One of the biggest draws for the SF CAB is the amount of diversity within it and the great bank of knowledge that exist amongst its members. The majority of members are long-term survivors. Seeing the medical advancements in HIV/AIDS care due to the ACTG research has him given even more reason to stay on the CAB. “The CAB’s influence on who gets to participate in research has been one of the best things to come from the past few years.”, says Charles. “Inclusion of more women, trans, and people of color would not have happened without the CAB’s pushing for it. The CABs are a vital part of the ACTG. Looking at the ACTG today, research has led to great advancements in not just HIV care but also in the fields of Hepatitis, TB and even COVID-19. The HIV Cure is going to come from this research.”
What a long strange trip it has been on this life journey. Charles is grateful to be alive and able to be a long term advocate!!