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Reggie Smith

RISE4WAR -- Focusing on Wellness, Awareness and Recovery

Structural Inequality Within HIV/AIDS Service Organizations Must End
November 15, 2016

As I sat and contemplated what I would write about for World AIDS Day, I thought of many topics. Each was worthy, yet the one that made me the most uncomfortable was the one I chose. In 2016, the inequality that still permeates decision-making roles within HIV/AIDS service organizations and state HIV/AIDS departments can't continue. The failure to confront our own racism, bigotry and lack of diversity is costing lives and feels paternalistic.

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The Blessing of Desperation: My Journey to Reduce Stress After My HIV Diagnosis
November 15, 2016

The journey of my life was dramatically altered when I was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 1988. There was so much that we did not know about HIV then. What we knew for sure was that people were dying in grotesque fashion, at an alarming and epidemic rate. It was not abnormal to expect that my fate would be the same -- that it would not take long for me to suffer and die. I was so afraid that my life was ending that it caused me a great deal of stress. As it turns out, stress is a killer too, and it works well with HIV to accomplish the goal of sickness and death. I could not turn back time and keep from contracting HIV, but managing my own stress was and is something I can control.

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Which Black Lives Matter? 2015 U.S. Conference on AIDS Informs, Inspires and Reminds
November 18, 2015

This year's annual United States Conference on AIDS was held in September in Washington, D.C. The focus was on the social determinants that have proven to be the stubborn factors that continue to contribute to the steady rate of new infections. There is much to celebrate about how science has developed medicines that are helping to control the progression of HIV in those who have been diagnosed as being carriers of the retrovirus. There is still a great deal of work needed to be done to improve prevention efforts, deploy educational strategies, and diminish or extinguish the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS.

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Truth, Reconciliation and Healing for Heteromagnetics
August 24, 2015

My wife Dionne and I have lived with AIDS since 1984. I am HIV+, she is not. We have experienced the kind of suffering that families affected by HIV go through. We talk to people all of the time about the different circumstances and emotions that heterosexuals have to negotiate while either living with, or protecting themselves from, HIV.

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You Can Live With HIV, But What Happens When You Do?
July 23, 2015

I found out that I was HIV positive when my wife and I were tested when we became pregnant with our youngest son. We had been having unprotected sex for four years, in spite of my history with IV drug use. I had been blessed to be clean and sober for the four years we were together prior to our getting pregnant, but denial prevented us from believing that I could possibly be positive. I was elated when my wife's test came back negative. Through God's grace, she remains HIV negative. I thought her diagnosis was a good sign for her and our child, and possibly me too, but my luck was not as good. My test revealed that I was HIV positive.

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Monogamy for Life Can Be Tough; Taking Meds for Life Is Hard Too
September 24, 2014

I started having sex in elementary school most days on the back staircase during lunch. Afterwards, my little girlfriend and I played punch ball in the schoolyard with our classmates. When I turned 14, I met my next childhood sweetheart. Soon after, she and I joined the birds, bees, and more appropriately, rabbits in doing what came natural. As a teen, premature ejaculation took work to overcome. I really wanted to please my mate, so we put in lots of work. Sex has always been fun and something I wanted to share with many, but from little girls to grown women one thing seem to be a constant; women and girls usually want to be the "only" one, and men usually want more than one. God sure has a sense of humor, doesn't "He"?

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Money Can't Buy You Time, but HIV Makes Life More Precious
March 3, 2014

Have you ever been faced with your own mortality? When I was at the end of active addiction to heroin, I thought I wanted to die and wanted time to stop. When I was diagnosed with AIDS, I thought I was going to die and didn't want time to end. In either case, life was being measured in time.

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Heterosexuals Die Behind HIV Lies; They're More Volunteers Than Victims
February 17, 2014

Just so you know, HIV is not a gay disease, nor is it a gift. Those are two of the biggest lies that people want to believe so that they can continue to have raw sex without having to ask or answer any hard questions. The allure of sex is so strong, that most of us, no matter what we say publicly, will gamble with our lives for the chance to "lose our minds" for a little while. Many men don't last long during sex and orgasms are brief, while many women are faking them. For many heterosexuals, the risk is high and the reward is tenuous.

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Two Sick People in Bed: Relationship or Hospital?
January 27, 2014

Whether you are HIV positive or not, our sexual relationships often say something about who we are as people. No matter what kind of sex you like, our emotional history plays a big part in how we are looking to satisfy our sexual desires. It often seems like hurt people, hurt people. If two people in a relationship harbor resentments, have fears of rejection or abandonment, or have unmet desires (spoken or unspoken), there is fertile ground for the relationship to get "infected" and get sick -- figuratively and literally.

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Empathy Is Easier, After It Happens to You
January 9, 2014

When I was first diagnosed with AIDS in 1988, I did not know what to do. I was blessed to be listening to WLIB in New York, and heard a wonderful doctor named Barbara Justice talk about the possible treatments she had for HIV, and the potential for low-dose alpha interferon to be a successful treatment. With a strange combination of faith and desperation, I sought out Dr. Justice and she became my primary care physician. We developed a doctor-patient relationship that was based on her desire to cure or heal me, and my willingness to participate in my own survival.

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RISE4WAR -- Focusing on Wellness, Awareness and Recovery

Reggie and Dionne Smith

Reggie and Dionne Smith

My name is Reggie Smith. My wife Dionne and I have lived with AIDS since 1984. I am HIV+, she is not. We have experienced the suffering of families affected by HIV. With the love and support of many, we have focused on sharing holistic healing solutions for the infected and affected in an effort to diminish the stigma and increase awareness about the unmet needs of U.S. families and surrounding HIV. You are most welcome to share with me here and at my website, ReggieSmith770.

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