Cheryl Netherly, BSW, LPN, ACLPN (She/Her)
Clinical Educator and Support Manager, CAN Community Health
Years as an ANAC member: 5
Conference Planning Committee - Tampa
What does National HIV Testing Day mean to you?
When I first started in HIV care, testing was different. The results took weeks and so often you would see someone getting tested because they were sick. At that time, some of them survived but many didn’t. With the continued access to testing and education on the importance of knowing your status, we are seeing those getting tested and into treatment quickly. I believe the combination of increased access to testing and improved treatments have been the reason HIV is no longer the death sentence it once was.
Why did you join the fight to end HIV/AIDS?
I grew up near the Ohio/Indiana border during the time a boy, my age, was fighting for his right to go to school. I remember seeing the news about Ryan White and feeling upset and afraid because someone my age was being treated so badly due to an illness. I couldn’t understand the cruelty he and his family were experiencing by not just other kids but adults. I continued to follow his story until the day he died. Because of him, I learned what I could about the illness he had and was heartbroken by the number of people who were suffering and dying alone. No family or friends around them. People afraid to touch them with their bare hands. As a child, I didn’t understand this. I continued to learn as much as I could while growing up and requested to complete my social work internship at the AIDS Foundation in Dayton, Ohio. Since 1996, first as a social worker and then as a nurse, I have continued to work with those affected by HIV.
What is your favorite part of being an ANAC member?
Meeting other HIV nurses, sharing our experiences and getting to learn from each other. When we come together, we are a family, a community. We support each other and help each other continue to grow.