Donning his running shoes, Jamil Eric Wilkins triumphantly races for his life against HIV. Athleticism has become the hallmark by which he thrives over his condition and the stigma associated with living with HIV.
He often thinks back to his first week on the track team when his knees gave out and he chose to continue his pursuit anyway. That same strength presented itself years later when he was on the cusp of advancing from HIV to AIDS. "My emotions had more calluses than my feet, but I refused to give up on myself, as I didn’t in the beginning," he said. Along with running being an outlet to earn his right to live, Jamil feels that his running mastery gives him the authority over his condition to make it happen. "We run races counterclockwise on a track, which meant that each time I placed one foot in front of the other I felt I was turning back the clock just enough to reclaim the power over my life," Jamil says.
Jamil feels that the moment we are presented with a life-changer and we make the choice to rise above it, we are setting the tone for what’s to come. His athleticism led him to the Braking AIDS Ride and the Positive Pedalers, whose mission is to eliminate the stigma behind HIV by being a positive public example. After 14 years of running, Jamil gets to take on new, hopeful challenges and show others what living with HIV can look like.