July 24, 2011
Have you ever wondered how to tell your child/children that you are HIV+ or living with HIV/AIDS? or How an HIV-positive woman can have an HIV-negative child?
Melissa Baker learned that she was HIV positive in August 2007, three days before her 28th birthday. Her diagnosis was a surprise, since she had tested negative for HIV only the year before while in what she thought to be a monogamous relationship. Melissa quickly realized that life does not stop with HIV and educated herself, her three teen daughters and the rest of her family and friends about the disease.
Thanks to early diagnosis, she is healthy today. She recently had a baby girl a year ago -- her fourth daughter -- who is HIV negative. She works as a oncology receptionist. She has chosen to speak out about her HIV status in order to dispel stigma and encourage other women to protect themselves and get tested for HIV. Melissa has volunteered on a committee with her state health department and enjoys working with incarcerated women on another volunteer project to help empower and educate. She has been featured in HIV Positive! magazine and the Southern AIDS Living Quilt video project.