My lovely people,
Have you ever had a dilemma where you had to choose between what is best for you as a person or for us a HIV community? Last week I had to make such a choice. While getting ready for the 19th European AIDS Clinicians Society (EACS) between 18-21 October in Warsaw, Poland, on the 13th of October my sister died in Gihanga, Burundi.
So, I was torn between dealing with grief and organising the funeral of my sister and representing the HIV community. That was such a hard choice. Deep down, I knew my sister would have loved me to carry on doing what is my passion in life, representing and speaking out on behalf of the HIV community. So, with a broken heart I made my way to Warsaw to meet up with my dear HIV community and our partners.
I realised that we as a HIV community are able to contribute to fighting HIV stigma in so many different ways. Whenever we can we should be...
The 17th of October was an exciting day for me to speak out as HIV stigmafighter at the Stigma and Discrimination Forum which was organised a day before EACS. It was a great moment to point out the persisting stigma in the healthcare system. Thank you Virology Education for giving the HIV community an opportunity to speak out.
The next day I was a panelist in the WAVE (Women against Viruses Europe) workshop "I am every woman" where I was representing migrant women living with HIV. I believe that powerful migrant women, open about their status, are key to bridging the gaps between the healthcare system and migrant women living with HIV. How else will we improve access to PrEP? Thank you WAVE, for giving migrant women a chance to share their stories and insights.
On the 19th I shared my HIV journey as a motivational speaker in the 'community corner' organized by European AIDS Treatment Group (EATG). I am so glad to see these dedicated spaces where the HIV community can interact with our partners. These are always the most vibrant spaces of any conference!
My week in Warsaw ended on a very high note! Together with AFEW International, Positive Women and Fundacija HelpNowHub I organised a positive lunch for Ukrainian women living with HIV in Poland. This was a great moment to work together on our dreamtrees and share and discuss our futures of living with HIV. I was truly touched by the resilience of the women I met, it was a very memorable Sunday!
You may have noticed that lately I have been privileged to engage at different events, such as Fast-Track Cities, Virology Education's Forum on Stigma and discrimination and EACS 2023. I am noticing a very positive trend: More and more of our partners see the HIV community as empowered citizens in our global fight against HIV. If together we keep on making sure that our voices are being heard around issues such as PrEP diversity, fighting HIV stigma, growing up positively with HIV, we can bring real change to the lives of people living with HIV.
At EACS 2023 I was able to witness the great work the HIV community continues doing. Together with our partners, we can make the transformation of their work into our HIV community. Without the HIV community there will be no science.
Keep empowering our HIV community and be inspired by us for great positive outcomes!
Thank you sister, peace in heaven,
This blog was originally posted on hivstigmafighter