NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Marking World AIDS Day, one country music entertainer is using his platform to raise awareness about the virus.
Doctors diagnosed David-Michael Hawkins with HIV about eight years ago.
The signer, who is openly gay and HIV positive, is getting ready to release his very first single "He's Got You" this weekend, with 50% of all the proceeds being split between AID Upstate and Nashville CARES.
By Hawkins sharing his story, the hope is it will encourage others to not let their diagnosis define them.
"I told my story to lessen the stigma, to encourage others to see someone living a successful life and not just surviving but thriving," Hawkins said. "I hope to be an inspiration to the community."
Hawkins' music will become available through all major streaming services and directly through his personal website.
Nashville CARES organizers said 3,400 people are living with HIV in Middle Tennessee.
The organization works closely with those with HIV and AIDS on education, therapy, testing and support services.
"One in seven people who have HIV don't know it and that's worrisome to us because it shows the stigma is continuing," said director of development Ken Hinman. "And Black and brown communities are disproportionately affected."
Nashville CARES recently opened their "My House Clinic."
It's designed to be a “one-stop center” providing people with testing, medical, and supportive services.
They do accept walk-ins at 442 Metroplex Drive, Building D, Upper Suite 200 in Nashville.