Todd Murray | Does HIV Look Like Me?
Todd  Murray
Todd Murray
Todd Murray

Todd grew up in a family with strong parents who were loving and supportive. From a very early age Todd knew he was adopted and felt proud to be loved and wanted. It was this knowledge that helped drive him to accomplish what he set his mind to. He was involved in church, school and the community, but he always felt “different” from the other kids. When high school started, he didn’t want to hide anymore. He was terrified to tell those close to him but knew he needed to be himself. Suspicions grew at school that he was gay. Taunts turned into daily abuse and by his junior year he signed out of public school.

Angry that he had to give up his education he was determined to educate himself. He moved to New York City and worked in a dental office by day and educated himself in accounting and economics by night.  Todd found himself and a sense of freedom.  In the city that never sleeps, Todd was sure that he had found the man of his dreams but he realized that he didn’t know how to talk to his partner about sex and protection. He wasn’t given the information and hadn’t taken the time to find it on his own. He stopped using protection out of fear that his partner would think he didn’t trust him and Todd considered it his ultimate expression of love.

The relationship ended and Todd was ready to move on. He moved across the country and into a home with people who understood and supported him. On World AIDS Day 2001 his best friend asked him to go with him to get an HIV test. Todd wasn’t planning to get tested himself because he didn’t feel he was at risk and thought he didn’t look like HIV, but the nurse persuaded him to take the test. Leaving the clinic, he didn’t give the test a second thought.

Two weeks later Todd found out the news that would change his life forever–-he was HIV positive. Devastation, confusion, anger, regret and isolation quickly filled Todd’s mind. He was afraid of himself and his mind was filled with thoughts of getting sick and dying. “I’m not sure what changed. Maybe I was tired of feeling sorry for myself and I certainly didn’t feel or look any different than I did before.  When I was growing up I didn’t see anyone who was living, not dying, with HIV.  I was driven to change the way my peers looked at and talked about the disease.  I had worked too hard to let this diagnosis stop me from accomplishing my goals. I wasn’t going to tolerate being stigmatized in my life,” said Todd. He got out of bed and started living his life again.

Todd read that half of new HIV infections were in young people under the age of 25, yet he still felt alone and isolated. He started to share his story with family, friends and strangers and found that his story had a great impact.  He knew that the world needed to see the faces, hear the voices and learn the stories of those who were living with the disease — all without using fear.

Today, Todd is the President and Founder of Hope’s Voice.  “It was clear to me that stigma and discrimination affects communities that are often misunderstood by young people.  It was with this reality that I decided that Hope’s Voice should be a platform for young people to share their stories.”  Todd’s commitment to the struggles and accomplishments of young people has provided an international platform and today Hope’s Voice is working in communities and countries around the world.

“I hope that with my story and the work of Hope’s Voice it will motivate young people to get out in their community and make a social change that is needed.”

2012/13

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TESTIMONIALS

I am extremely happy Todd Murray was able to speak at Bates College. He was so honest and personable with his story that he really made everybody in attendance feel like HIV was something that was connected to them without using fear, which does a great deal at addressing the stigma of it. A few students approached me later and said they were going to go tested and it made me smile. Todd is an amazing speaker and man. We cannot wait to bring him back to Bates!

Jarron Brady
Bates College

Todd had one of the most inspiring stories I have ever heard. In fact, it encouraged me and a bunch of my friends to go and get tested. It was a complete success and I couldn't be more thankful!

Chelsea Mandel - Executive Board
Dartmouth College

I had Todd Murray speak at Green River Community College during our Diversity Week in March. Not only did he share a phenomenally inspirational story, he was also really easy to talk to. He is very relatable and created a comfortable environment around generally uncomfortable topics. Definitely would have him speak here again!

Amber Miller - Diversity Services Student Coordinator
Green River Community College

I was so grateful that Todd was able to come out. The lecture was very well received and I have heard from a number of students how much it impacted their thoughts about HIV and AIDS. You are an amazing person.

Mary Sharinghousen - Eastern Student Entertainment
Eastern Oregon University

Todd Murray’s story is one that is important for all to hear. He resonates with all and I applaud him for his courage to be so open and honest to audiences around the world. It’s very obvious he truly cares and is trying to make a positive difference in other’s lives. I’m glad he came our way …those present were touched by spending time with Todd. Wishing him all good blessings and thankful to be able to call myself not only a fan but more importantly, a friend.

Boyd Jones - Campus Programs Director
Winthrop University

Both Todd and Christina gave a educational and emotional presentation that had a clear impact on the students. Never losing sight of their audience and always speaking to them as equals.

Stash Wislocki - Executive Director
Telluride AIDS Benefit

This is the second time that we had the Does HIV Look Like Me? Lecture and it has been a positive affect each time that we had the lecture on our student body. Todd Murray is a very inspiring and empowering speaker.

Chris Tague - Lectures Chair
Lock Haven University

Todd's story of courage and his message of love and acceptance empowered the students of Illinois Wesleyan University to reduce their stigma about HIV and to realize the importance of knowing their status. Minutes after the event ended, I was already getting texts and calls from students who had attended saying that they were planning on getting tested now, and that they were going to call their friends to encourage them to get tested, too! Todd's passion and determination makes him not only an amazing man, but an amazing speaker.

Brittany Childs - Student
Illinois Wesleyan University

Todd is an amazing person to work with. Also he has a way of inspiring people to get tested.

Chris Tague - Campus Programming Intern
Montgomery Community College

Todd is a strong person to be able to cope, grown and accept his status.

Dani Kennel - President of Students Friends Lesbians And Gays (SFLAG)
Montgomery Community College

CHARITY OF CHOICE

Does HIV Look Like Me? Does HIV Look Like Me? educates, inspires, empowers, and challenges stigma through the production and presentation of innovative events, print and media campaigns. We are driven by inspiring, relevant, real and often misunderstood stories of hope.

Hope's Voice will donate to the Talent’s chosen CHARITY OF CHOICE for each event booked

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