Michelle Anderson, Program Assistant/Certified Peer Educator, The Afiya Center, Dallas, Diagnosed in 1999
In 2011, Michelle Anderson achieved a great feat: Not only was she crowned Miss Plus America, but she became the first woman living with HIV/AIDS to do so. The title is a far cry from where her life was almost a decade ago, when she was addicted to drugs and learned of her status in a treatment facility in 1999.Show More
"I thought I was going to die," Michelle recalls. "Life would be over." Instead, "I was able to empower myself. Getting tested saved my life."
And empowering others as a means to save and better their lives is exactly what she's been doing. Over the past few years, Michelle has been a fearless HIV/AIDS advocate, especially in her home state of Texas, where black women bear the brunt of this epidemic. In addition to her work for the Afiya Center for HIV Prevention and Sexual Reproductive Justice in Dallas, she also serves as co-chair for Campaign to End AIDS Texas, and travels across the country talking about her own personal experiences as a sexual abuse survivor and how that abuse impacted her own self-worth, putting her further at risk for HIV.