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Whether it's her two sons or those she meets in her professional life, Octavia Lewis is all about one thing—helping others.

It's more complex and nuanced than that, of course, but when you boil it down, Octavia is here for others no matter their situation—whether living with HIV or a person of transgender experience, or both, like Octavia. She had to navigate that complex health journey on her own, and didn't want others to have to go at it alone.

“When I was first diagnosed in my early 20s, it was an eye opener for me. You can go one place to get your regimen for your virus, but you didn't have a physician to get your hormones as well. It was an ‘either or’ situation for many of us.”

Octavia Lewis

“I decided this cannot be the model of care for people who look like me.”

Octavia Lewis

Outside of her professional mission, Octavia makes sure her attention is on her two sons, whether shuttling them to karate classes or taking them on Saturday play dates.

With her eyes open, Octavia began her journey as a Transgender Health Coordinator, where she helps those who are gender nonconforming or trans navigate the healthcare system, serving as the main point of contact to put them in touch with the right primary care physician, infectious disease doctor, etc. She also helps them speak with those healthcare providers to forge relationships, and also lends a sense of allegiance for those having fearless conversations.

“No matter how many degrees or certifications, I believe in trying to be the best human I can be and showing others that we're all deserving and all worthy, and we all deserve to be here.”

Octavia Lewis

“It's humbling for me to be able to tell others on this journey

to be authentic to what you are.”

A guiding light in Octavia's life came in the form of a mentor, Avery Wyatt, who she says helped save her life and give her a new purpose to help others. Wyatt also gave Octavia a mantra that she lives by daily, and that helps drive her professionally and personally: “People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Three Questions With Octavia:

What was your reaction when you were first diagnosed with HIV? And, how do you feel now?
My first reaction was that everything I had told myself came true. I had always told myself it was always “when” I become positive not “if” I become positive. I now have a sense of self-worth because through my diagnosis I learned how to love myself.
How do you define being fearless and how do you bring that attitude into your everyday life?
My fearlessness gives me the strength to continue to be present in the moment while allowing me to thrive in an atmosphere that was not created, designed or implemented with people like me in mind. Everyday I get up is a new day to learn something new and build upon my yesterday while preparing for my tomorrow.
How do you stay positive even during difficult times?
I remain positive through reflection on my life. I acknowledge the fact that many of my friends that also became positive are no longer here and I find comfort in knowing that my life has purpose. I also remain positive because I have two boys that look up to me and I try to serve as a positive role model for my boys.
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