National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness: Three Women Speak
March 10th is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness day; a day to highlight and stress the imperativeness of women and girls staying informed about and taking measures to protect themselves from becoming infected with HIV, and, if already infected, how to treat it.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 62% of females in the United States living with diagnosed HIV are African-American, and according to Avert.com, women between the ages of 20-24 in the Caribbean are three times as likely to be HIV positive than Caribbean men of the same age.
Ladies, the numbers don’t look good.
What these numbers mean is that we’re not taking the necessary steps to protect ourselves and to protect our partners, and in a time when education about the dangers of HIV/AIDs is so readily available, there really is no excuse for that.
At times, it helps to listen to someone who is living with HIV to wake the rest of us up to the fact that, though the disease is not a death sentence, it’s not a bed of roses to live with, either. To drive this fact home, Soulreflectionz.com spoke to three women of three different nationalities, one African-American, one Grenadian, and one from Trinidad and Tobago, all living with HIV.
ANGELA, AFRICAN-AMERICAN, 46
“I contracted HIV when I was 25 years old. So before I say anything else, I want people to know that I am living proof that you don’t immediately die when you contract the virus. I know some people still think that. That’s not true. Another thing people think is that you have to be promiscuous to contract the virus. That’s not true, either. You can be minding your own business, faithful as f**k, and you can still contract the virus. That’s what happened to me. My partner was the love of my life. We were engaged. I thought he wouldn’t cheat, so I asked myself, condom for what, though? I found out ‘condom for what’ when I went to see my doctor for a routine check up. That’s all it was, a routine check up. And my doctor said, ‘Angela, I’m afraid I have some bad news for you.’ I wish I could say every day is easy; just take your meds and you’ll be fine. But it’s not like that. Some days are as easy as things could possibly get in this situation. Other days…I wouldn’t go into detail about other days. Let’s just say the bad days are bad. I still get so angry at my ex (he is deceased now) for exposing me to HIV. I feel like he took away my life, or at least my life as I knew it. One day I may be able to forgive him, but that day is not today. My advice to all women out there is, no matter how in love you think you are, or how into you you think he is, DO NOT let him talk you into having unprotected sex. It’s not worth it. What it comes down to is, would you rather 20-30 minutes of skin-on-skin, or would you prefer being healthy? Think about that and protect yourself.”