Jason L. Brock, a member of the HPTN 096 study, is a peer supporter guiding Black gay, bisexual, same-gender loving, and other men who have sex with men in Dallas. His background includes education, grant management, program development, and advocacy. Jason's goal is for others to become better educated and help people overcome the stigma of receiving proper care and treatment. He holds a bachelor's degree in business management with coursework in applied science in education.
What motivated you to do what you do regarding HIV prevention, care, and support?
I know what it's like to feel isolated and alone. What motivates me in this work is to be a sounding board regarding prevention and treatment. To help someone process a new diagnosis or understand the importance of sexually transmitted infections testing.
What do you find most challenging about the work you do?
Many believe HIV is a disease of the past, or we're still dealing with it as if we are living in the nineties. And so, most of the time, the conversations that I have in this work bring people up to speed and educate them that HIV is still relevant to this day and very prevalent here in the [US] South as well.
Why is promoting equity and accessibility important?
Promoting equity is important because everyone should have access to healthcare resources regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, HIV Status, socioeconomic status, geographic region, or age.
How did you first get involved with HPTN 096?
I saw a posting for a peer supporter, and it spoke to me immediately. And I pushed it off and referred it to some of my colleagues and friends in the community. My colleagues just kept saying, Jason, you should apply, be part of this project, have a voice, and be part of this movement. And after a few months, I decided to go ahead and apply.
What is your role in the study? And what aspect do you enjoy the most?
I am a peer supporter. At the same time, I am promoting the project here in Dallas. I also work in other jurisdictions to have an idea of the needs. What I enjoy the most is having a seat at the table to help with decision-making and project implementation while supporting community members seeking guidance.
What impact do you see HPTN 096 having in your community?
The impact that I see in the Dallas community is we can revolutionize what prevention looks like for black men who have sex with men. Peer support is very instrumental not only in prevention but also in treatment. I think peer support is essential. It can help build a strong support foundation for an individual whom HIV may impact.
What volunteering or passion projects do you pursue outside of work?
I volunteer at a homeless shelter once a month, where I help prepare and cook meals for the residents. When you break bread with others, you communicate, create a bond; and have a conversation.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Besides being active with my family, I love watching television news programs. I love local and national news. I also love television sitcoms from the nineties—my favorites are The Golden Girls and Family Matters. I also love wholesome shows with morals and competition. Usually, I think you forget what those shows are all about.