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Justin B. Terry-Smith

Justin's HIV Journal


"Little Feet, Big Steps," A Children's AIDS Walk Book
May 5, 2013

"Little Feet, Big Steps" follows a young girl named Gabby through her discovery of what it means to bring communities together and be a part of something big. Gabby turns to family, friends and neighbors to raise money for her local AIDS WALK. Through this experience Gabby realizes she can help make a difference in a big way for people who are living with AIDS, just by walking and raising money. "Little Feet, Big Steps" is meant to encourage, motivate and inspire children. Their age does not have to impact their dreams and wishes of making a difference.

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Just*In Time: HIV Advice Column for April 2013
April 28, 2013

Justin
I am struggling because I recently found out that my boyfriend tested positive for HIV during our relationship. It has been six months to date since this happened & I am still dealing with the situation mentally. When I first got the news I was getting tested every two weeks and about two months ago I have limited it to once a month. All of my tests have been negative, but, for some reason, I am dealing with anxiety issues to the max. I feel like every symptom is there and I'm having it. I don't understand why I can't move on from this. Getting tested should be helping me but it just takes me back to the same place I was when I first got the news. Maybe you can give me some words of wisdom and encouragement that will help me to move past this & move on. Oh, and now I'm terrified to have sex. I don't sleep around I was always in a relationship so I don't understand why me ... so maybe you can help.
-- Monique

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How to Put on a Condom
April 28, 2013

1. CHECK THE EXPIRATION DATE!!

2. Make sure the condom is pushed inside the wrapper opposite the end from which you are opening it.

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The Biohazard Tattoo & HIV Stigma
April 25, 2013

Last week I thought long and hard about the reason why someone would get a bio-hazard tattoo on their body, and then I asked myself why I would get one. I decided I would get a Biohazard tattoo not because I wanted to feel better about myself being HIV positive, but it was because I felt for the people that couldn't be open about their status. There are many reasons why a person cannot be open about their status: it could be because of their family, friends, partner/s, fear of persecution, death, etc. But a lot of these reasons come from stigma. Stigma of how one is treated when being open about their HIV status is very much alive and well. I got this tattoo for those mentioned above to help fight against HIV stigma.

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Majority of Newly Diagnosed HIV Cases in Philadelphia Already Have AIDS
March 24, 2013

Every three years, the CDC puts out its HIV Surveillance Report which gives a status on infection rates by city, state, region, etc. After the results of the report came out it was found that Philadelphia was ranked 24th among metropolitan area for new AIDS diagnosis. Over 75% of new HIV cases found were actually stage 3 AIDS. Currently there are about 12,000 people in Philadelphia living with HIV/AIDS.

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28% of South African School Girls Are HIV-Positive
March 22, 2013

According to the BBC, 28% of South African school girls are HIV positive. This is such a travesty. The South African Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi is stating that young men are not infecting them but older men are. The South African Health Department put out this ad to engage the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

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Lifting Ban on HIV Organ Donating
March 21, 2013

Bans Bans Bans!!! We have bans for a lot of things in this country, but one is about to be lifted. The Senate Heath Education and Pensions Committee have approved the HOPE Act, also known as the HIV Organ Policy Equity Act. The act would lift the federal ban on transplanting HIV positive organs to HIV positive recipients.

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Just*In Time: Deny, Deny, Deny
March 3, 2013

I'm somewhat of an "AIDS denialist." For all that I have researched, read, studied and learned, I have a hard time accepting what I've "unlearned." At the same time, the passing of a close cousin and Christine Maggiore has forced me to ask myself, "If I were HIV-positive, would I have the strength of my convictions to live the life I advocate, like Christine, or would I take the path that most people take?" My mind rejects conventional wisdom on HIV and the use of HIV medications, but I don't think I would take the "holistic" route, either. I just don't understand why there can't be an alternative clinical option. Let me know what your thoughts are. Thanks!

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Justin Goes Back to Basic Training
February 21, 2013

I was going through some old military things and came across a video of me in Basic Training. Of course, that was back in 1999 when I was just 19 years old. This was during the era of the policy of "Don't Ask Don't Tell." Also, since it is dated, it was on a VHS tape. I thought to myself, "Wow, I've grown a lot since then." My foster son used to express interest in the military. He said, "Dad, I want to be a Marine." Of course, his father and I tried to persuade him to join the Air Force or the Army, since I'm prior Air Force and my husband is prior Army. After that discussion I think my foster son decided to change his mind about even going into the service, but who knows, he is a teenager and may change his mind later.

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Justin Learns to Relax
February 20, 2013

So, I've decided to take my doctor's orders seriously. When it comes to HIV, it is really important that one keeps their stress levels down and, unfortunately, it has been harder for me than not. I've decided to not let anything or anyone stress me out and if that means cutting people out of my life completely or putting them in another category, so be it. I also emphasize to always look after your own health. I've decided to go to bed earlier, drink less and really try to quit smoking.

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Justin's HIV Journal


Justin B. Terry-Smith

Justin B. Terry-Smith

Justin B. Terry-Smith may be one of the most public African Americans living with HIV: He has his own blog and Web site, and he's even on YouTube. And who can blame him? Only 30, he already has an incredible story to tell. Justin admits he used to live "a very dangerous life," but since his diagnosis three years ago, the former heavy drinker and drug user has turned his life around.
Photo credit: Don Harris


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