By Rae Lewis-Thornton
September 29, 2011
This piece originally appeared in Rae's blog, Diva Living With AIDS.
Every morning I thank the Lord for another day and then I grab my IPad to see what's happening on my Twitter timeline. And I hate when I wake to madness; And that's exactly what I got this morning. Lawd knows I wasn't expecting tons of re-tweets showing me foolishness some young people had tweeted.
I re-read the tweets over and over again and then I crawled out of bed and got connected to my morning IV drip, turned the teapot on and re-read them again. As I sat in bed with a wonderful cup of English Breakfast tea, allowing this medicine to pump through my veins, I knew my timeline was waiting on a response.
And I also knew that what I wanted to say and needed to say couldn't be said in a 140 characters. My first reaction was, they can't possibly believe this shit they tweeted. Like seriously!
I try never to respond to tweets such as these without investigating. So I ventured to each of their timelines to get a feel for who they are and I'm not sure if I was relieved or disappointed. I saw that both timelines were full of madness, and that's what twitter is all about; Freedom of speech in the best and worst ways, the good, the bad and the ugly.
Sometimes you know when the ugly is for real, like you can feel it. But then other times you can't really guage it. You don't know if people are tweeting crap for attention and shock value or if they are sincere. So after viewing their timelines, all I can really say yet again, is, Seriously? Vulgarity and Vulgarity was the theme of both their timelines. And that's fair, if that's what they choose to tweet and people want to follow them.
If you catch my timeline on Friday's you may be shocked. For Real my #FuckinFriday Tweets are provocative and over the top and some of my timeline love them and some can't wait for Friday to be over, they just hang in there for something else. I mean, I got unfollowed by another AIDS Activist because she didn't like my cussing.
What I love the most about all of this is that the people on my timeline who saw those tweets thought enough of my work to say, help, set these young people straight before they end up with HIV. Help them see the reality of this disease. And for that I'm grateful.
But the truth of the matter, I don't know if these young men are just on some bullshit trying to shock the hell out of people to get a large following or not. But I wonder what the people on their timeline think? The ones that read these tweets; If they take them at face value or not. That's what bothers me the most. You will a lot of power with your tweets and they can lift up or tear down, they can inform with the best of information or they can perpetuate misinformation.
So let me set the record straight. AIDS is the number one killer of African-Americans between the ages of 25-44, not a gun shot And with African-American being 52% of all cases of HIV in the United States, it's hard to believe that every black person doesn't know someone either living with HIV or have died from AIDS. Or maybe not! I mean if I had HIV these guys would be the last two I told on the face of this freaking planet. Laughing at Sexually Transmitted Diseases is no joke. And with the kind of stigma and shame they are tweeting, I would be afraid to tell them that I was infected.
But oh Let me set the record straight again, up top was an example,actually I have been living with HIV for 28 years and AIDS for 19 and I thank God there is nothing a person can say or tweet to make me feel ashamed. Those days are fucking over!! I look good for a woman living with this disease over half of my life. I hope you don't think you can look at a person and tell.
And by the way, I read on one timeline that they make their women get tested for HIV. But the HIV test is as good as it is. So if you get tested today, it's for the sex you had 3 months ago, not the sex you had last night. And in the reality of life, if the pussy aint in your pocket my Brother you have no idea what it's doing when it aint with you. So go on and fuck bare back, but understand, AIDS takes prisoners and it's harder to live than to die with AIDS.
And I got to say this... Laughing at Shingles, Huh? Yes Shingles is in the Herpes family, but it comes from the Chicken Pots strand of Herpes, not from slinging your dick. If you have ever had the Chicken Pots, Shingles will most likely be in your future.
Oh Lawd, this was a lot to take in this morning, but it's the life and area we live in. At the end of the day, people still have to make their choices, about what they tweet and how they have sex. My prayer is that is doesn't bite ya in the ass one day. Seriously!!!!
ps... I wonder if I will get cussed out for this blog... Let's wait and see...
Read Rae's follow-up post Stop the Madness!.
Rae Lewis-Thornton Speaks
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.
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