CHICAGO (WLS) -- On National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Jeffery Pulliam recalled his own diagnosis 30 years ago.
"So certainly when I got that information I just thought this is it. It is over. I don't know what to do," he said.
For the last 16 years he's been helping fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic as the youth program manager at Test Positive Aware Network or TPAN, located in Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood.
"It really isn't about me even though I may be living with the virus long enough. It's always about them in that moment and what they need.
Black Chicagoans continue to be disproportionately impacted by HIV, accounting for 57% of new cases, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health.
"That's why it is so important to get out in the community and not just put up flyers and have an event one day or special days," Pulliam said.
Some are calling on Springfield to do more.
"Because in order to be able to do some of the types of things that we need to do to really affect change, positive change, you need the resources in order to be able to do that," said Timothy Jackson, the director of government relations at AIDS Foundation Chicago
TPAN is focused on HIV prevention and testing. But Pulliam argues helping people with their basic needs is often the first step to stopping the spread of HIV. That includes housing and food.
"Medication, treatment and care is not what they're thinking about. It's not their biggest concern," he said.
Pulliam knows that firsthand and he's using that experience to a make a difference in the community.