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Rae Lewis-Thornton

Rae Lewis-Thornton Speaks


World AIDS Day 2010: A Retrospective
December 1, 2010

Sixteen years ago today I appeared on the cover of Essence Magazine as the first Black woman to tell her story to a major publication. It was brave of me to tell the world that I had AIDS. Back then we saw AIDS as mostly white gay males. And if by chance a woman did have HIV, in the minds of most, she had to be an IV drug user or something close to a street walker. The idea that a "decent" woman became infected with HIV was far fetched.

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One Thing AIDS Can Never Take Away: My Books
November 17, 2010

Mama had a third grade reading level so reading was not a part of my household in my early childhood. I can't even remember reading a book until 7th grade, that's when my world changed. Mama was a maid at the Evanston Inn and we moved from Chicago's Englewood to Evanston's North Shore community so she could be closer to her job.

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Monday Reflection: Just Continue to Do Your Part ...
November 15, 2010

I can't believe that World AIDS Day is in a few weeks and I don't even have a gig. I mean, I'm one of the most name recognizable Black women in America with AIDS, Emmy Award winning AIDS Activist, educated, articulate and a true soldier, and no one has confirmed me to speak for World AIDS Day. My speakers fee is $23,000 less than Magic Johnson, and $13,000 less than Greg Louganis. I can talk my ass off and from what I've been told, I leave a lasting impression. But yet my date book is empty.

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Resilience Sealed With God ...
November 11, 2010

These last three months have felt like old school AIDS. The thing that makes this disease one bad ass motherfucker, and the wildest thing about it all is that none of this should be happening. Honestly. My viral load is non-detectable and my t-cell count is relaxing in the high 400's. So why is my immune system acting like my t-cell is 8? That's the thing that makes this disease complicated. Nothing is as simple as it seems. It is also the thing that challenges the very core of who you are.

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Monday Reflection: Yes I'm a Colored Girl ...
November 8, 2010

Growing up being violated by the men who were supposed to protect me, I learned to be both sensual and sexual and how to use it to will that power over men. I was so wounded I didn't even know that I was hurt. The blood had dried over the wound and the sore was growing and infecting the very core of me.

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Monday Reflection: Fight Forever More ...
November 1, 2010

HIV/AIDS has become an integral part of my life and there is no way around it. All I can do is coexist with it. For me, to coexist means that I do not allow total domination, to not allow it to consume all of me, mind, body and spirit. So I take all of my hits standing and I never fall down.

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Hold Tight ...
October 13, 2010

Today I woke up to a dark, gloomy day with thunderstorms. I didn't think it would get better. With a killer headache from my HIV medication and Sophie in my arms, I decided to linger in bed for a little while longer. I turned on the TV and to my surprise it was breaking news of the Chilean miners being rescued. They were rescuing number 11 when I tuned in. I was happy for them for sure, but it didn't seem to have a impact on my life one way or the other. And then from nowhere it all started to make sense. It blows my mind when and how God shows up. And when He does, you know in your heart that it was just for you. Yes, the thing might bless more than you, but you know it was what you needed at the right time.

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Monday Reflection: Born to Fight ...
October 11, 2010

AIDS is relentless. I can't even describe the uphill battle living with this disease. I want to say something positive, but there is no goodness in AIDS. NONE! I get so pissed when people reduce managing AIDS to a chronic illness. It's much more complicated then that. And I won't even tackle the stigma attached to this illness that no other illness seems to have. If you become infected with HIV, yes we can treat you but, your life will never be the same. That is the bottom line! And if someone tries to tell you it's a walk in the park, they are lying. HIV/AIDS is complicated and treatment is complicated. Prevention is the key to winning against HIV.

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Monday Reflection: Coping ...
October 4, 2010

Could I be so sad that I'm numb? Could I have so much going on that to think about any of it would require more then I can handle? Is this my reality, that to cope I do nothing at all? I think about nothing, I do nothing. I can't even seem to talk to God beyond each morning when I say thank you for another day. Yes, I'm admitting that even prayer is hard to do these days. And when I do pray I simply say, "Lord, you know." Cause He does know. Yes, I'm void of deep and profound these days. I'm just trying to keep me all together and my head above water. So I cope as best as I can. Some days I draw upon everything and others, like today, I do nothing.

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Monday Reflection: Sanctuary
October 1, 2010

It was well over 20 years ago when my therapist at the time told me I needed to create my own space. A place just for me. I had been sharing an eight bedroom house with Jesse Jackson, Jr and his younger brother Jonathan for almost five years. I had long been an adopted sister in the Jackson family and Mrs. Jackson made sure I had a home.

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Rae Lewis-Thornton Speaks


Rae Lewis-Thornton

Rae Lewis-Thornton

Rae Lewis-Thornton is an Emmy Award-winning AIDS activist who rose to national acclaim when she told her story of living with AIDS in a cover story for Essence Magazine. She has lived with HIV for 27 years and AIDS for 19. Rae travels the country speaking and challenging stereotypes and myths about HIV/AIDS. She has a Master of Divinity degree and is currently working on her Ph.D. in Church History. Rae has been featured on Nightline, Dateline NBC, BET and The Oprah Winfrey Show, as well as in countless magazines and newspapers, including Emerge, Glamour, O, the Oprah Winfrey Magazine, Jet, Ebony, the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune, to name a few. She earned the coveted Emmy Award for a first-person series on living With AIDS for Chicago's CBS News.

Rae is an active user of social media -- read "Long-Term HIV Survivor Discovers the Power of Twitter," an article on TheBody.com about Rae's social media activities.

Follow Rae on Twitter

Friend Rae on Facebook

Visit Rae's Web site, Diva Living With AIDS

Learn about RLT Collection, Rae's line of AIDS awareness/fashion bracelets

Watch Rae on YouTube

Speaking engagements: Inquire about booking Rae to speak at your organization or event!


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The opinions expressed by TheBody.com's bloggers are entirely their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of TheBody.com itself.

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