Konya is a twenty-five year old mother of two. Like most parents, Konya has some lingering questions about how best to raise her children. It causes her to wonder “what are my kids going to think of me when they are older? How am I going to teach them about HIV? How am I going to teach them to protect themselves form HIV?”
Konya was diagnosed with HIV in December of 2003 while pregnant with her son, Will. It was a routine visit to the doctor and, she thought, a routine test. But one week later she got the results that changed her world. Konya sorted through her anger and alarm and immediately made arrangements for her infant daughter to be tested. Her “Auntie” and partner overheard her telephone conversation, and that marked the beginning of her disclosure.
“Through the grace of God,” both of Konya’s children are HIV-negative. At first, Konya’s partner did not want to be tested. He had just been released from jail and didn’t want to bother with an HIV test. But he eventually, though unenthusiastically, agreed. When his results came back positive, he said “we’re going to work together and work through this.”
Konya has faced many emotional challenges since being diagnosed with HIV. She has confronted her past with its history of sexual assault, and has confronted her depression and suicidal thoughts. “I’m dealing with it. Over time, it’s getting better; I know I’m not alone.” Her Auntie and mother both supported her immediately, but the rest of her family has turned their back. “You expect more from your family when you tell them something like that. It was a trip.”
Fortunately, Konya has a support network at a local agency that assists HIV-positive women. She feels very comfortable in this environment and is thankful for the help she receives – even the companionship of women going with her to doctor’s visits. “They treat me like I’m family… something my family doesn’t do.” She feels it’s important to talk to others and share her experience. She wants to give back to the community and help fight the stigma faced by those living with HIV. “I want to be inspiring!” To this end, Konya has recently begun public speaking to encourage people to talk about HIV and prevention. “We all could teach somebody.”
The women featured in our profiles are real HIV+ women and people working in the arena of HIV care. The Well Project respects and safeguards our profilee’s confidentiality – we will never reveal last names, addresses or places of employment. We may even provide an alias so that our profilee’s first names remain private. If you have any questions or comments about our profiles, please contact us.