Photography by Danielle Levitt
As a child, the 3-year-old Daskalakis would subject visitors to a blood pressure test with his Fisher-Price doctor’s kit. That's when he decided to be a doctor, but it wasn't until he was in his senior of college and helped coordinate a display of the AIDS memorial quilt, that he dedicated himself to engage myself with the gay community and work to fight what I thought was the biggest plague in my experience," he explains. "I was going to do everything I could to not let someone with HIV get sick or die, and to prevent people without HIV from actually getting the infection." Now, as the director of HIV services at Manhattan’s Mount Sinai hospital, he leads efforts to vaccinate gay men for meningitis. "It's my dream job," he says. "It's crazy: A little guy in Virginia wanted to be a doctor, but I never thought I'd be running what is definitely the best HIV care service in New York if not the country."
But that doesn't mean he's finished fighting for his dreams to come true. “Health care is a human right,” he says. “We’re just catching up.”
Photographed at Fast Ashley’s Studio in Brooklyn, N.Y., on August 9, 2013