Being an activist I know is one way to really stir things up and get things done. I was so happy when I was surrounded by my many sisters at The Summit in Fort Walton Beach this year. I felt unstoppable! When I arrived home I was excited to get to work.
I was soon blasted down from my airhead thoughts and returned to a grounded girl with no hope for being the change I wished to see.
It’s been a couple months. I just cannot put my words onto the paper.
I read several blogs this week reminding me: not everyone has to or can be at the front. Those of us who like to work behind the scenes are actually very productive in our communities given we love what we do. I have helped a woman to restart her meds; I have taken another after a long talk to get tested because of the high risk behavior I see her taking on; ETC, ETC.
I friended these women after partying with them and them being open to discuss my status leads me into questions for them about their health. As they trust me I am able to take people to be tested and help them start antiviral medications. This helps everyone in the community. I’ve been finding girls, working girls, and guys and educating them. I run the streets and I face my own stigma all the while being the help and education some may never encounter.
So maybe I am not as interested in changing the laws; I will be supportive and learn and help as I can. I WANT TO BE INCLUDED AS A GROUP. I WANT TO DO THE WORK. Today I will be happy about finding those who may never hear or have the chance to ask in a safe, nonjudgmental environment. I make myself vulnerable to go to places I may not belong; however, I know the education must get to those using and engaging in unsafe sex practices.
I get a lot of hell for opening my mouth yet when one more person pulls me aside for talking openly about my HIV, only then do I feel I am doing myself, my community and the public in general any good.
HIV Stigma stops here with me.
I don’t have to run, walk, or march Washington to help get the word out on HIV. Although I will be there to support my sisters. I need to lend my voice, my writing, my experience, and give these gifts to those who need it in their time, in their comfort. Today I resolve to get back to being happy; locally giving out condoms; having those talks with sex workers of any race, gender, color. In all the hubs here in Sarasota. I plan to hold my head high and one person at a time I will change how people interact with a person living with the condition of HIV.
Thank you Maria and all the bloggers that touched on this subject. I thought, Damn I can never do what they do. I have serious mental health that needs to be addressed so I do what I can. I will continue to step up my game and help here in my community using myself as the face of a person living and thriving with HIV.
Look at me. Yes, I look fine and I live with HIV... I AM UNDETECTABLE AND CANNOT PASS THIS ON TO MY PARTNER as long as I stay adherent to my meds.