Danielle Warren-Dias is a passionate advocate for women and children who are living with HIV and AIDS. In honor of World AIDS Day 2021, the Connecticut World AIDS Day Committee presented Warren-Dias with the 2021 Trailblazer Award during the virtual 2021 Connecticut World AIDS Day Commemoration.
Warren-Dias has worked for more than two decades in the HIV prevention field. She is a program coordinator with the Connecticut Children’s/UConn Health Pediatric, Youth & Family HIV Program. She is also a co-leader of the Hartford Youth HIV Identification and Linkage Consortium, which is a program of Connecticut Children’s Office for Community Child Health dedicated to educating youth about HIV and reducing its spread.
“We’ve come a long way”
In accepting the 2021 Trailblazer Award, Warren-Dias expressed gratitude to those who have supported her work over the years. “We’ve come a long way, although we have a ways to go in the fight against HIV and AIDS,” Warren-Dais said. “It is time to end the HIV epidemic.”
Warren-Dias recalled the early years in the fight against HIV and AIDS as tough years.
“I started in this field in the early 1990s and we buried people,” said Warren-Dias. “I remember a foster family and I helped them with funeral arrangements for a 3-year-old little girl. I never forget that she reminded me of a doll in a doll box because she was in this little white casket. We continue to lose people to this fight with HIV.”
While people continue to die from HIV and AIDS, fatalities are greatly reduced from the early years of the epidemic due to advancements in treatment protocols that now include pre-exposure prophylaxis and the ability to prevent HIV transmission from mother to child during childbirth, Warren-Dias said. There is much work still to be done in combatting the stigma those with HIV and AIDS often face, she said.
“A national trendsetter”
In announcing the award to faculty and staff, Juan Salazar, MD, who serves as Connecticut Children’s physician-in-chief, noted that Warren-Dias has been a leader in the Greater Hartford community for decades.
“Her leadership of the Pediatric, Youth and Family HIV Program has made our state and our institution a national trendsetter,” said Dr. Salazar. “I know I speak for all of my colleagues in Infectious Diseases and Immunology when I say that much of our work over the last 20 years could not have been done without Danielle’s wisdom, compassion, and tireless spirit.”
Learn more about the Pediatric, Youth & Family HIV Program.
“We’re all in this together”
During her remarks, Warren-Dias noted that she plans to continue her work advocating for the needs of women and children living with HIV and AIDS.
“Not too many people get to work in a field they love. I love what I do and the people I do it for,” stated Warren-Diaz. “Many times, I call my office my second home. It has been my second home. It has been a part of my love for life, my reason for being here.”
In closing, Warren-Dias remembered those who have lost their fight against HIV and AIDS, including the foster child she helped arrange funeral services for so many years ago. She also thanked advocates for their efforts in the ongoing fight against HIV and AIDS.
“We are in this together and we’re all in it for the same reason,” said Warren-Dias. “I want to thank everyone who voted for me to receive this prestigious award. I really would like to thank you all. I appreciate you from the bottom of my heart.”
Watch a video from the 2021 Connecticut World AIDS Day Commemoration.
Categories: Health Promotion