In 2019, a WalletHub.com survey named Houston the most diverse city in the country, ahead of both New York City and Los Angeles. This didn’t come as a shock to Houstonians themselves, because to us, Houston has never been defined by its politicians or industries — Houston has and always will be defined by its people. We are a city with no majority, a city that speaks 140 languages, a city of change and innovation. Much of that change and innovation is due to immigrants like Dr. Jonatan Gioia, a queer Latinx on the forefront of HIV research.
Dr. Jonatan Gioia @jonatangio is a gay, queer, Latinx immigrant cis-man and is active in the LGBTQ community. He is a senior research assistant on HIV/AIDS research specializing in PrEP. He joined this campaign to help end HIV and believes we are living in exciting times in the HIV field. . El Dr. Jonatan Gioia es un inmigrante gay, queer, Latino hombre cis y activo en la comunidad LGBTQ. Es asistente de investigación senior sobre VIH y SIDA, especializado en PrEP. Él se unió a esta campaña para ayudar a eliminar el VHI y piensa que vivimos un momento de mucha promesa en el campo del VIH. . #HTXIAmLife #IAmLife #takePrEPdaily #GetTreatmentStayUndetectable #HoustonIAmLife #HoustonPride
Born in Buenos Aires, Dr. Gioia has been a Houstonian for two and a half years now after being offered a research position with the Houston HIV/AIDS Research Team at UTHealth. Currently a study coordinator for HPTN 083, a research study that compares the effectiveness of injections and oral tablets as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV, Jonatan is now an ambassador for the I am Life™ campaign. As the City of Houston's Health Department first-ever health campaign directly reaching out to black and Latinx members of The LGBTQ community, I am Life™ is breaking ground in the most diverse city in the country. So is Dr. Gioia, who is getting resources to people who need it the most, fighting stigma and prejudice, empowering and raising HIV and mental health awareness among queer people of color.
Today is my 2nd year Anniversary since I moved to Houston! This adventure never ceases to amaze me. As hard as it was to leave all my friends and family in Argentina, I will be forever thankful for this journey. Y’all know its been - and still is -quite a roller coaster ride! I’m grateful to have met awesome people along the way - many who are my new friends and chosen family. Thank you for always being there for me, for your confort, support and understanding. Thank you for allowing me to be part of such a great community and help me leave my own footprint here. I am proud Houstonian now and I hope to keep on growing here for as long as this adventure lasts. 🥰Thank you H-Town🥰
“Today the only approved method for PrEP is to take one pill of Truvada a day. One pill a day keeps HIV away. We need to raise awareness about this preventive method and remember that most insurance programs cover PrEP and if you have no health insurance, there are patient assistant programs available to assist.” While getting tested regularly is a key to self-empowerment and agency over one’s health, Dr. Gioia emphasizes that living with HIV is not a death sentence. Ending stigma is just as important as providing resources to the community. “People living with HIV can live a long and healthy life today. If they get treatment and become undetectable, we know they cannot transmit the virus.”
Even when our art buildings are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, our parks and greenspaces are open from dawn to dusk. Soak up the sun, take your dog for a stroll, or have a bite of lunch in the #Menil neighborhood.
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Because Houston is defined by its people, we are so much richer for Dr. Jonatan’s work and advocacy. Though still in the early years of his Houstonian story, he’s still a blue-blooded Montrose resident who can be found grabbing coffee at Common Bond, brunching at Boheme, lounging at The Menil, or exploring Hermann Park’s Centennial Gardens. A huge fan of Houston’s famous Museum District, he naturally finds a favorite in our Health Museum.
Dr. Gioia will join I am Life™ in the Pride parade, but you can still catch him living with pride in a daily sense.
“I celebrate Pride all year around. I celebrate Pride by being an advocate for my community, lifting voices and trying to create change every day. I try to live my own truth every day, set an example with actions and work willing to inspire our younger generations. When we say as a queer community that ‘It gets better,’ we need to be able to prove that this statement is true. We need to keep fighting every day to ensure that it gets better for those who are still struggling.”