What Could It Be? (Sonya on Voices from our Allies)

Sonya posted a new blog What Could it Be? on A Girl Like Me’s “Voices from our Allies” page: I really wonder why people are so quick to attend a baby shower vs. attending an HIV Awareness/Testing Event.  It blows me away to know that we are willing to bring a gift of diapers, play games and smile, as we try to guess the weight and size of the new baby.  We never once mentioned the fact that they should have used a condom!  Hmmm…STDs, HIV, and even unwanted pregnancies….Oh, like what just happened here…What is the real reason why so many people are scared to even say H—I--V? I think about this almost every day, because when I look around my community the handwriting is clearly written on the wall…Nationally, Black women account for 66% of new cases of HIV among women.  HIV/AIDS related illness is now the leading cause of death among Black women ages 25-34.   No one seems to be alarmed, alerted, or afraid of this FACT!  Why?  It’s called STIGMA. I believe when we take a close look at ourselves, we will find that we are all cut from the same fabric.  Hurt people…hurt people, because that is what they know and most importantly that is what we do!  However, when we start to love ourselves it’s only then that we can begin to love others and help decrease the stigma that is clearly preventing us from discussing HIV (fear). My questions for you….does it really matter how one becomes infected with HIV?  The bottom line is that they are infected, and they become another growing statistic.  Why can’t we learn to start using the word HIV in our daily conversations,  and have compassion for those who are in the fight of their lives? Could it be that it’s really a Reflection, Regrets, or just a daily Reminder of our own SEXUAL BEHAVIOR? We must take steps to increase awareness, eliminate stigma, and stereotypes about HIV/AIDS in order to begin to effectively address the HIV epidemic among African American Women.  The first step to HIV prevention is learning the facts and accepting the reality that any woman who is sexually active is at RISK.   Read more of Sonya’s blogs on “Voices From our Allies“.

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Theresa Kenney (@theresakenney)'s picture

I am a white Mother,Daughter,Sister and Grandmother living with hiv now for 16 years, my biggest struggle has been finding support and understanding from M.D.S.G. JUST LIKE ME. I think until we put a face to hiv the stigma will always be apart of living with hiv. I don't believe that we have stopped the spread of hiv among whites. but I can see why the white population still believes it could not happen to them. We should be speaking out like we did in the 80's,Maybe I am living with hiv in the wrong state for support or awareness, how ever I will continue to search and bring awareness to all women no matter what there color. from a M.D.S.G LIVING WITH HIV

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sonyamallard's picture

Theresa, I agree that no matter what color you are we have to bring awareness to HIV. However, I place a stronger emphasis of my Activism in the African American Community because we are the fastest and higher rate of infection in this epidemic. In this community...most refuse to show their face, raise their hands, or whisper..I'm HIV+, and because of this....the infection continues to grow and spread, therefore I keep and will continue to speak about to this population.

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jae001's picture

Well maybe we would get more support if there were HIV gifts and door prizes... just a thought.
Jae

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loveAndlight's picture

There is so much information on HIV.... All seems to contradict.
I was first touched by HIV when I was pregnant with my first daughter. I tested positive. Me and my husband at that time were best friends with another couple. She was very young, and pregnant also. We discussed breastfeeding all the time. I was a breastfeeding Nazi. And it appeared, she was too. Their baby was born and we went to visit them. She was feeding her baby a bottle. I was shocked, but didn't say anything. I remember leaving, and telling my husband, " she isn't breastfeeding. That's awful. Why did she act like she would? That's so crazy that she would lie to me about it, or at least, not talk to me about whatever issue she was having with it, so I could support her and help her through it." Well, a month went by. She called and finally said, " I have something to tell you. Remember when I said I really wanted to breastfeed, and I didn't. I know it mystified you. I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner. The reason why i can't breastfeed, is because I have HIV."This girl was white, beautiful, 18!! And living in a very Christian suburban population. She told me that her boyfriend, had gotten pneumoniaand was hospitalized a few months before they conceived. She was told he had AIDS and that she needed to get tested. She tested positive. Her boyfriend had dated other women I was close to, before her. I asked if they had told those women that he was positive. She said no. He didn't want to. I promptly threw a fit, and begged her to go with me, as support and tell those women. She refused. Our friendship ended not because she was positive, but because she wouldn't break the silence and stop other people from possibly being infected. I found the first friend at a party. I pulled her out of it, I knew he had taken her virginity.I told her. She collapsed on the sidewalk , crying. Saying she didnt use a condom with him every time. She ended up dropping out of sight after that. I never found out if she had tested positive. That night though, she said people had come up to her and told her he had HIV, that he got drunk one night at a party and told people. He knew. He just denied it. I always thought it was harder to get than we thought. That anal sex was the mode of transmission. That anal sex put you at the most risk. What I wanted to know, and what I think more people need to know, is the details about how infection is transmitted. Can it be transmitted with just vaginal sex? Or is it analsex that puts you at risk? I know a lot of men, that are with women, don't want to disclose that they have been receptive in anal sex. But I think, in fact, that is how the majority of men got it. Because they deny it, people have gotten so many wrong ideas ... Like, it is virtually impossible to get infected from a woman. The infection usually stops right there. With the woman.I think that if more information was available about the details, it could only help. I beg people to get honest about their activity. For education sake. For our sake. The discremination towards gay men has to stop. Why men are leading double lives in the first place. One of the most heartfelt and informative testimonials I ever read,was one of a woman that had sex with two rappers. She pointed out that they had anal sex with each other and her on that night. I am not sure why all this poured out of me here. Seeking more information, I suppose. As a Nurse, compassion is crucial, and I love all of these stories. My heart goes out to everyone touched by this disease. And I admire going on to succeed in the face of ultimate betrayal at times.

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