The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Once homeless, community health educator advocates for HIV/AIDS

By Alma Sosa/reporter

A community health educator and community outreach advocate recently took Women in New Roles students on her journey from homelessness to college to Washington.

Dubbed by South WINR director Trish Light as the “ultimate ego booster,” Judith Dillard, a former TCC student, wanted to share her life experiences with others.

“My passion in life is to educate people from getting infected with HIV/AIDS,” Dillard said.

She said that passion comes from a deep personal connection established 22 years ago at the age of 35. Dillard described herself as a happily married woman and mother of three when she was diagnosed with HIV.

The shocking news of contracting the disease through her husband took a toll, Dillard said.

“He would rather have sex with a man than with me and only married me to get his family off his back,” she said.

At that point, Dillard said her life took a downward spiral into the world of sex, drugs and homelessness.

Given a second chance, Dillard turned her life around.

“When one dream dies, we can live another dream,” she said.

Her path has included starting school, becoming a member of WINR and now dedicating her life to educating others about HIV/AIDS prevention and all the disease entails.

“At 35, I didn’t think I would live to 40, and now I’m 58,” she said. “I love telling my age.”

Another personal achievement, Dillard said, was taking part in the AIDS March in Washington earlier this year.

Kristy Willis, a TCC student, won a scholarship to participate in the march and joined Dillard in the cause.

“People from all over the world were in attendance because this epidemic is global,” Willis said.

Throughout the presentation, Dillard emphasized the importance of getting tested.

“The highest group of infection is between the ages of 18-24 affecting college students,” she said, adding that help is readily available

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