I really wonder why people are so quick to attend a baby shower vs. attending an HIV Awareness/Testing Event. It blows me away to know that we are willing to bring a gift of diapers, play games and smile, as we try to guess the weight and size of the new baby. We never once mentioned the fact that they should have used a condom! Hmmm…STDs, HIV, and even unwanted pregnancies….Oh, like what just happened here…. What is the real reason why so many people are scared to even say H—I--V?
I think about this almost every day, because when I look around my community the handwriting is clearly written on the wall…Nationally, Black women account for 66% of new cases of HIV among women. HIV/AIDS related illness is now the leading cause of death among Black women ages 25-34. No one seems to be alarmed, alerted, or afraid of this FACT! Why? It's called STIGMA.
I believe when we take a close look at ourselves, we will find that we are all cut from the same fabric. Hurt people…hurt people, because that is what they know and most importantly that is what we do! However, when we start to love ourselves it's only then that we can begin to love others and help decrease the stigma that is clearly preventing us from discussing HIV (fear).
My questions for you….does it really matter how one becomes infected with HIV? The bottom line is that they are infected, and they become another growing statistic. Why can't we learn to start using the word HIV in our daily conversations, and have compassion for those who are in the fight of their lives? Could it be that it's really a Reflection, Regrets, or just a daily Reminder of our own SEXUAL BEHAVIOR?
We must take steps to increase awareness, eliminate stigma, and stereotypes about HIV/AIDS in order to begin to effectively address the HIV epidemic among African American Women. The first step to HIV prevention is learning the facts and accepting the reality that any woman who is sexually active is at RISK.
About Sonya: Mrs. Sonya Mallard, better known as "Ms Sonya Live", possesses a desire to push one into their Destiny, and has an unabashed preference for the controversial. Ms. Sonya skillfully combines talk, news worthy events, interviews and motivation for people without missing a beat. The weekly show, Ms. Sonya Live is on 94.7 FM every Friday @5pm for two hours filled with Real Talk, Real Issues, with a Dose of Reality from the heart. It features audience interaction and interviews with experts in the HIV field. She is on a mission as a HIV Activist for the past 20 years and presently an HIV Educator/Tester with Project Response in Melbourne, Florida. She has been Affected and not Infected with HIV, losing her best friend, Lynette Hart, to the disease. Her greatest fulfillment comes when her students, clients, and audience members take action and make meaningful changes that transform their health, relationships, work, and spiritual lives. She is known for giving out condoms FREE and stationing condom bowls throughout drug infested neighborhoods, beauty stores, and night clubs to help decrease the disease.