I am a twenty-four year old African American woman who is HIV positive. One in seven black people with HIV are unaware that they have it. I was twenty-two when I found out I was positive. I was also pregnant with my second child. I never imagined in a million years that I would wake up one day and be HIV positive.
Growing up I didn't really learn about HIV. That was never really a conversation. I mean, yea, you seen or heard about it on TV or in movies. But not in reality, and the things you seen and heard on TV made you not even want to talk about HIV. It takes you going through things to understand things. I now know being HIV positive doesn't mean I'm going to die any earlier than the next person as long as I take care of myself. I now know things about this virus that I can educate others on. I now know HIV should be a topic, it should be a conversation in the black community. Most black communities don't have the best health care. Let's be real, if the schools won't educate our children, we have to. If we want to fight stigma we have to speak up for our black people. We have to take the safety measures. Teach safe sex, preach safe sex, etc. We can not and will not let HIV win. I didn't and I refuse to let my black people.
It is okay to go get tested. It is ok to actually sit down and have a conversation about your sexual relationship, before just getting straight down to business. It is great to go with your spouse and get checked together - I encourage it. I encourage you to sit your children down and talk to them about being tested. Being aware is everything; taking care of you is everything.
Some people don't understand how underrated being black is and I mean in all aspects in life. We are so much stronger than some of the world portrays us to be. Together we are unstoppable, we can raise awareness one talk at a time, one blog at a time, one book at a time, one school at a time, one household at a time, one community at a time.
Yes, I Am a Twenty-Four Year Old Black Woman Who is HIV Positive and Yes I Will Have That Conversation, Yes I Will Fight Stigma, Yes I Will Educate My Children, Yes I Will Educate My Community, Yes I Will Raise Awareness. I Can, I Will, and I Must.