HIV has always been something that we know about, but do not speak about.
When I say WE I mean the Black community. We tend to ignore this disease as if ignoring it will create a shield that will protect us from contracting HIV. Even I would reluctantly "get that test!" and then rejoice when I got the negative results and just go into my "Thank God it's not me" place.
We don't talk about it at home, we don't talk about it in school and Black people do not talk about HIV in church.
It's like a punishment that "bad Black girls" get...or people on drugs. If your test were to come back positive (you think to yourself) that you probably deserve the leprosy like consequences that come with HIV, right? Not so surprisingly the church is where HIV first fell at my feet.
#WeAreEmpowered by Survivors
I was confronted with HIV directly when a very special person to me confided in me that she was HIV positive. I was blown away.
She dispelled all of the myths that I had ever heard or seen on television about HIV.
My girlfriend was plump, full of life and had a beautiful daughter. I didn't see any lesions (the open sores that can appear on your face) and she was not sickly or thin. She didn't look like what I thought of as somebody who had AIDS or HIV. She told me that she kept up with her treatments.
After I watched how she lived her life full of joy, never a negative moment-I was empowered myself. She was/is Greater than HIV. I realized that not only did I NOT need to be afraid of the disease, but that I also needed to educate myself and others around me about who HIV affects.
You do not have to be: -sexually promiscuous, -an IV drug user -or live a wayward life.
I have had unprotected sex. She could be me-easily.
National Watch Party #WeAreEmpowered Documentary with Alicia Keys
#WeAreEmpowered by Connection
As I watched the documentary with Alicia Keys, I cried a little bit but I also felt the need to help other women not feel trapped by the disease. I felt empowered AND empowering! HIV is not a shameful plague, it just happens. HIV is no respecter of persons. While there are ways that we can work to treat the disease, until we find a cure, prevention it the best way to eradicate HIV. Greater than AIDS and Walgreens will be partnering to host a "National Watch #WeAreEmpowered Twitter party" that I just cannot wait for!
Walgreens Empowered Twitter Party
January 15th 8-9 pm EST
We will all be Tweeting about:
-Speaking Up -Getting Tested -Prevention -Treatment -Empowerment
Be sure and use the Hashtag #WeAreEmpowered while we take back the silence and all that holds us captive to HIV and AIDS.
For More Information on the Greater Than AIDS campaign CLICK HERE!
Tell me what YOUR experiences are with HIV/AIDS and how you can be more impactful in the fight to be Greater than AIDS.
Classily Yours, Sharelle D. Lowery Follow me on Twitter for the Twitter Party!