Nikki Calma, better known to her community as Tita Aida, is an HIV/AIDS and transgender activist from the Philippines who currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. The persona “Tita Aida” originated from what Filipinos called another Filipino who was living with AIDS: in Tagalog, “Tita” means “Aunt” and “Aida” refers to HIV/AIDS. Tita Aida was a educator, mentor and role model for the Asian and Pacific Islander LGBT community in the early 1990’s when there was scarce representation of Asian and Pacific Islander people living with HIV.
Tita Aida has worked with the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, the Filipino Task Force on AIDS, and the Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness. She created many initiatives to combat HIV/AIDS in the 1990s, and raised support in the trans community for the Transgender Law Center and the AIDS Housing Alliance/San Francisco. She has received numerous awards for her contributions to the community, including GAPA’a George Choy Community Award, Transgender Law Center’s 2010 Claire Skiffington Vanguard Award, Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center’s Grassroots Award and San Francisco Pride’s Teddy Witherington Award. She currently manages the TRANS:THRIVE program at the Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center. Today, Tita Aida continues to be active in the community, and her legacy will live on through the future generations of leaders inspired by her.
We were the very first Pride celebration that provided HIV testing because we believed in that. We made it happened. We made it available for people. Something that will go down in history, having new folks coming in and continuing the legacy. That’s one thing that is the best part of it. You see it continuing, happening, you see the sustainability to it.