Why you should listen
Arik Hartmann was diagnosed with HIV in 2014 at his college campus clinic after a bout of flu-like illness. After disclosing his HIV status to roommates, he was faced with increasing ostracization and ultimately was asked to leave the home he had been renting. From that moment he decided to always be open about his HIV status and to use it open a dialogue and educate others. He began tackling the ignorance and misinformation surrounding HIV/AIDS within his local community in Louisiana, and more surprisingly in the gay community. Using dating apps like Grindr and Tinder as a medium for HIV advocacy, he began to educate strangers about HIV/AIDS and to help those newly diagnosed acquire treatment and care. Hartmann believes that by being transparent with our illnesses and health we can all engage and educate those around us -- and hopefully dispel damaging stigmas.
Though his advocacy is HIV oriented, Hartmann is a passionate naturalist and can be found catching snakes and frogs in his free time. He has worked with the United States Geological Survey assisting in coastal ecology and herpetological research. He received his undergraduate degree in Resource Biology and Biodiversity from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He currently lives in Gainesville, Florida and plans to pursue a master's degree in wildlife ecology.