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Women Making HIV History - A Conversation with HIV Advocate Leisha McKinley-Beach

Updated: Mar 18

For Women's History Month, our star Communications Associate, Mikayla Meachem, sat down with the legendary HIV advocate Leisha McKinley-Beach for a powerful dialogue.

Leisha's lifelong career of tireless advocacy for women who live with HIV over the past two decades has torn down barriers of stigma, redefined what it means to live with HIV, and served as a model of how to use intersectionality in public health.

SisterLove Founder Dázon Dixon Diallo (left) handing Leisha (right) the Absolute Love Community Award. Photo credit: Katy Beltran
SisterLove Founder Dázon Dixon Diallo (left) handing Leisha (right) the Pandora Singleton Ally Award. Photo credit: Katy Beltran

Empowerment Through Advocacy

Leisha's journey into public health advocacy began unexpectedly during her college years, setting her on a path of impactful advocacy. Her work shines a spotlight on the disproportionate impact of HIV on Black communities, underscoring the critical need for targeted health education and equitable healthcare access.

Breaking Barriers in Black Communities

Leisha passionately discusses the foundational role of the Black Public Health Academy in empowering Black professionals. Her advocacy extends to addressing medical mistrust and systemic barriers, advocating for cultural humility within healthcare to better serve Black communities.

Intersectionality in Public Health

Leisha's discourse on the intersection of sexual reproductive rights and public health reveals a personal connection, highlighting the importance of reproductive justice. This perspective enriches our understanding of public health's comprehensive impact on individual and communal well-being.

A Vision for the Future

Leisha's advocacy journey is a testament to the power of dedicated activism in achieving equitable public health outcomes. Her promise to continue advocating until Black communities fully benefit from preventive measures like PrEP exemplifies her unwavering commitment to health equity.

In the face of ongoing challenges, Leisha McKinley-Beach's vision and work offer a beacon of hope, reminding us that through collective effort and informed advocacy, a future without HIV is within our reach.


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