Each One, Teach One: HIV Community Leaders Share Their Mentorship Stories

November 7, 2017


Khadijah Abdullah

Khadijah Abdullah

Abdullah is the founder and president of Reaching All HIV Positive Muslims in America (RAHMA), Washington, D.C.

My inspiration was a Muslim man living with AIDS. I met him when I was working in a hospital part time while I was in school. He was a patient there, and he really opened my eyes to the isolation and stigma he faced in the Muslim community and how he didn't feel welcome there.

It made me realize that we don't even talk about sex in our community, let alone HIV or AIDS. It inspired me to go back to my school and raise awareness. And then, I learned my 19-year-old friend was HIV positive. This made it personal for me, and it made me want to continue doing the work.

When I got into the work, I worked at a local AIDS nonprofit called AIDS Project New Haven. The director there, Christopher Cole, was a mentor for me. He was really "there" and guided me in my path to working in HIV and AIDS.

Just giving you time and helping you answer any questions that you may have is very important for someone who doesn't know much about any new field. Christopher's letting me come to his organization, volunteer there, and meet people and learn from them was very helpful for me when I started working in the HIV and AIDS field.

Image credit: Olivia G. Ford.

Related Stories

Fighting HIV in the Trump Era: U.S. Advocates Speak Out
Up Close and Personal at USCA: A Day of Action

This article was provided by It is a part of the publication The 21st United States Conference on AIDS.

No comments have been made.

Add Your Comment:
(Please note: Your name and comment will be public, and may even show up in
Internet search results. Be careful when providing personal information! Before
adding your comment, please read's Comment Policy.)

Your Name:

Your Location:

(ex: San Francisco, CA)

Your Comment:

Characters remaining:

Please note: Knowledge about HIV changes rapidly. Note the date of this summary's publication, and before treating patients or employing any therapies described in these materials, verify all information independently. If you are a patient, please consult a doctor or other medical professional before acting on any of the information presented in this summary. For a complete listing of our most recent conference coverage, click here.


The content on this page is free of advertiser influence and was produced by our editorial team. See our content and advertising policies.