The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App 
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol
HIV/AIDS Resource Center for Women
Michelle Lopez Alora Gale Precious Jackson Nina Martinez Gracia Violeta Ross Quiroga Loreen Willenberg  
Michelle Alora Precious Nina Gracia Loreen  

Boobies (and Cancer vs. AIDS)

October 31, 2012

Everyone loves boobies. Other than me -- I want a reduction, but that's another topic for another day. One of Seattle's breast cancer walks this year was on Sept. 22nd. That was the SAME Day that Life Long AIDS Alliance had its annual AIDS Walk. The breast cancer walk was advertised everywhere, from radio to TV, and even flyers hanging around town.

Had I not got an email or an invite on my Facebook page from Life Long, or BABES, I would have had NO idea there even was an AIDS walk.

It is cool to support boobies -- hell, even football players are draped in pink this month. And that's great! Cancer needs more money for research. BUT people with cancer CAN be cured. You can CUT off a boob and if you're lucky your cancer does not come back. I do have friends who have died of cancer and they were only in their 20s. I'm not saying they all get cured, and that it's NOT a big deal. It totally is.

I work with three men who were diagnosed with three different types of cancer in the last three years, all of them are in remission. They had surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy; some of them lost weight and hair, and now they are all back at work Monday through Friday and they look great.

I have not missed work due to my HIV/AIDS, other than for routine doctor appointments. I have never been SICK because of this diagnosis.

But where is our coverage? Where is our month of nationwide support and help from the uninfected community? Everyone knows at least one person with cancer alive or dead. Everyone DOES NOT know someone with HIV/AIDS. Well maybe they should. We are people too. We want to live just as much as they do. And we fight our own battles to live and pay our medical bills, and copays for our medications. We go in for blood work and get told we are more prone to other diseases like cancer. We shouldn't have to wait to get cancer for people to give a shit.

I just got an email from my new OB/GYN: woohoo, an abnormal Pap smear result. Great. So now I have to go back in for a crotch biopsy (in Brookey terms, since I don't understand medical jargon nor do I pretend to). So I googled all the medical words in her email with my test results, and most of the words in searches come to HPV, which it says can cause cancer. I have to re-schedule that appointment since I was supposed to go on 10/18 but I'm in a three-week cross-training class for my work. AND I didn't have my copay anyway until I got paid on the 22nd.

Read Brooke's blog, Voice of ONE.

Send Brooke an email.

Get email notifications every time this blog is updated.

More From This Resource Center

Newly Diagnosed? Words of Encouragement from HIV-Positive Women

What Every HIV-Positive Woman Should Know About GYN Care and Prevention

This article was provided by TheBody.
See Also
More Viewpoints on Women and HIV/AIDS

Reader Comments:

Comment by: Queen (East Cleveland, OH) Fri., Jan. 10, 2014 at 12:32 pm UTC

Well said! It is a shame that after all of these years they still sweep HIV/ and its victims under the rug; " What are they thinking about?" Are they trying to pretend it is nothing until they have almost a quarter of a billion or more in the world infected like Hepatitis B/C?" My cousin was so ashamed to have HIV and I told him, " "This can happen to anyone." I didn't want him to die in shame.
Reply to this comment

Comment by: Andy (Cedar Rapids, IA) Fri., Nov. 16, 2012 at 10:24 am UTC
South Park even made an episode addressing this... when Cartman was diagnosed with AIDS there was a benefit held at which no one showed up. His waiter tells him "Sorry kid, AIDS is more of a 90's disease." I've noticed this as well, seems like everyone forgot. It's very sad.
Reply to this comment

Comment by: Rick S. (Maryland) Fri., Nov. 9, 2012 at 8:45 am UTC
Thank you for being the first person that I know of that has had the nerve to say this! I am living with AIDs for twelve years and lost my partner to AIDS in 2000, among many friends also lost. I feel better knowing that others feel the same. OR at least one other!!
Reply to this comment

Comment by: Alejandro S. (Puerto Rico) Thu., Nov. 8, 2012 at 2:55 pm UTC
Hi Brooke,

Thank you so much for your article;you have put into words what I have felt since 1992, when I was diagnosed. I'm co-infected and been treated for HCV with Peginterferon, Ribavirin and a new "test drug" with the same side effects as chemotherapy.

Even though I have had incredible support from my family for which I'm so grateful for, now that I'm also going through "chemo" people are so much more expressive with their support, people that have never acknowledge my HIV status for 20 years and what we go through, all of the sudden want to put a medal in my chest because of the "chemo".

That makes me feel anger and frustration, is like "where have you been for the last 20 years?". Please I don't want to sound like I'm not grateful for the support and for 20 yrs. of life I didn't expect to have, God knows I am. Every time I see the "Pink" manifestations" which are great for the patients and their families, I can't help but to feel somewhat not or less worthy of support. It has been a drop of water that has fallen into my heart and has silently made a mark.

I'm working with those negative feelings along with many others that are a lifetime process, and I acknowledge there's a lot more work to do.

But THANK YOU, for expressing your feelings in the article, coming from a woman I'm sure is more "acceptable". After reading your article I felt less guilty for having those "negative" thoughts and less ashamed of my own feelings over this issue which I have only shared with my "therapist" up until now.

You have made feel validated! I wish you the best with your results and hope your next visit to your OB/GYN turns out to be a 2nd routing check and nothing else!
Reply to this comment

Comment by: Stephen (Greenville, SC) Thu., Nov. 8, 2012 at 2:04 pm UTC
I grew up in the center of the buckle of the Bible Belt at a university in SC which considers itself the bastion of fundamental Christianity. I will never forget the day I found out one of the former faculty members and his family all had HIV due to a blood transfusion. How horrible, I thought. They must be sinners.

That is the mantra about HIV I grew up with. It is a stigma that is just reinforced by the media, Hollywood, everywhere we turn. Even the LGBTQ community stigmatizes those who have HIV.

I have HIV. I have been living with HIV for 11 years now. I feel the stigma so strongly that it is very difficult to disclose - though I do when appropriate. I have lost friends because of my status. My own sister will not permit me to even be around her children because of my status despite her supposedly having educated herself about HIV.

We do have World Aids Day on December 1. Maybe there does need to be more awareness and education. However, HIV/AIDS is the only disease which gets the kind of funding and support from the government. ADAP, Ryan White... Folks with cancer don't get this kind of support.

All this to say that I believe every single person in the USA does know someone with HIV. There are so many of us you can't help but know someone.

The point is, they don't KNOW they know someone with HIV because we don't self-disclose because of the stigma.
Reply to this comment

Add Your Comment:
(Please note: Your name and comment will be public, and may even show up in
Internet search results. Be careful when providing personal information! Before
adding your comment, please read's Comment Policy.)

Your Name:

Your Location:

(ex: San Francisco, CA)

Your Comment:

Characters remaining:

The content on this page is free of advertiser influence and was produced by our editorial team. See our advertising policy.

See Also
Newly Diagnosed? Words of Encouragement from HIV-Positive Women
What Did You Expect While You Were Expecting?
HIV Tools You Can Use