I named this blog "Back to Back" as a wordplay on Drake's "Back to Back," as I literally went to two conferences back to back. Attending USCA in Hollywood, FL and then PWN in Fort Walton Beach, FL was nothing short of amazing. I got to spend time at not one, but two beach resorts, soak up the Florida sun and still be educated on HIV/AIDS.
This is my first year attending USCA as an adult and I must say they spared no expense. The plenaries were full of show-stopping performances and valuable information, on subjects affecting the Caribbean, and medical and prescription advances in HIV, etc. The sessions had the option to be completed in different avenues, you had the option to pick a specific avenue you would like to take and attend sessions within your choosing throughout the entire conference. I chose PLWHIV and found myself stumped on several occasions because there were too many options to choose from in one timeslot. I learned about reproduction, intimate partner violence and various other topics. The exhibit was among my favorite, as I was able to network and connect with various organizations, all while getting freebies.
For PWN Summit, this was my first year and I initially had plans to attend Positive Living as well. Unfortunately, at the last minute I had to opt out of Positive Living because I didn't want to tire myself. We all know SELF-CARE is very important and we have to know our limits. Well, I did get the pleasure of attending the Youth PreSummit, and one of my biggest complaints is, I wish there was an additional day. It was great. I met so many young women and we connected on a personal level, as well as professional. The next day we decided to meet on the beach and just have time to share our stories and get to know each other more personally. I found out that two of the other young women were born positive and they too struggled with some of the same concerns. It was refreshing to actually look into their faces and see myself, to know I truly was not alone. Of course I know I am not the only person perinatally infected but it was just so great to be able to share and receive so much love, peace and serenity. There were little bonfires as a whole and then we, as just young women, got together and had a positive affirmation session on the beach. Both of those events were needed and they allowed us to leave all of our problems on the beach, with God (or whomever we chose) and just be at peace with a clear mind. We cried together, hugged each other and offered each other so much love and positivity. PWN Summit was truly like none other and I would send any woman there without hesitation to meet some strong women. You won’t connect with everyone, you won’t agree with everyone, but I guarantee as a whole you will feel united and you will also find some people that you will connect with beyond your imagination in sisterhood and solidarity.
It was a great time for me and I am even happier to be able to now take a break and focus on my personal life and future endeavors with all of the changes that are coming my way. This isn't bye, but a see you all later. I just need a month, or two, or three, to regroup and refocus my "why," as we learned in the Youth PreSummit.
Thank you for reading.