For Lumesh Kumar, becoming the Program Coordinator for the BronxWorks Positive Living Department was the result of several different and long-term motivations. Lumesh was born and raised in the Parkchester area of the Bronx. He attended Daemen University in Buffalo, New York, where he graduated with both his Bachelor’s Degree in Health Promotion and his Master’s Degree in Public Health. As a Bronx native, Lumesh has always wanted to give back to the community that raised him, and as a student of public health, he developed a keen interest and passion for sexual health and in particular HIV prevention.
During his Master’s program, Lumesh interned with the RAKAI Health Sciences Program in Uganda, working on a health campaign to decrease the transmission of HIV. After graduating, Lumesh spent some time with the Peace Corps in Guyana working to provide health education and knowledge.
There are a lot of misconceptions about HIV; it’s just something I’ve been passionate about for a long time. If you have a little bit more knowledge, some things could be prevented. Like the importance of testing: sometimes people don’t know their status and transmit unknowingly.”
Lumesh joined BronxWorks in 2018 as a Health Educator for the Comprehensive Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention & Sexual Risk Avoidance Education (CAPP/SRAE) Program. He provided in-person and virtual workshops on sexual and mental health education for participants ages 13-24 throughout the Bronx. In the fall of the 2020, Lumesh joined Positive Living as the Program Coordinator, overseeing harm reduction, case management, and health education services for a group of 60 clients.
We never closed throughout the pandemic. We made all of the necessary safety adjustments and precautions so we could continue to offer a safe place and the meaningful services for our clients.”
In many ways, working at Positive Living has been a fulfillment of many long-standing goals for Lumesh, but it is just the beginning. “There is still a lot of important work to be done to raise awareness of HIV,” Lumesh says, “to remove the stigma around people living with HIV, to help people reintegrate into society, to address other challenges that our clients face, like housing or substance use.” Outside of work, Lumesh loves to play video games with his friends, and is looking forward to traveling again.