As far as I can remember, I always wanted to be a doctor. And I never thought about wanting to be anything else. For the last five or six years, we know that HIV rates have been increasing among young men who have sex with men, especially African American men and it’s heart-breaking to see 2, 3, sometimes 4 of these young men a week with a new HIV infection, many of which you actually had the opportunity to see six months ago when you tested them and treated them for STDs. So I think the sense that you can make a difference in their lives, the sense that there’s so much need, gets you up every morning with the hope that today would be a better day and you can be able to make a difference in people’s lives.
Leandro Mena, MD, MPH is CDC’s Director of the Division of STD Prevention in the National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. Dr. Mena is a clinician-researcher and public health advocate with expertise in the prevention and clinical management of STDs and HIV. His interests include understanding the dynamics of STI transmission in racial/ethnic, gender, and sexual minorities, as well as the development and provision of culturally competent quality health services to these populations.
“I do this work for my patients. The feeling that you can make a difference in people’s lives. That there is so much need, gets me up every morning.” – Leandro Mena, MD, MPH