Deputy Director of Prison Programs, Albion Correctional Facility for Women; Diagnosed in 1991
What I am most proud of are the women who are participating in the AIDS Education Program here within these prison walls. The program is the same one in which I was a peer educator over 20 years ago as an inmate myself. It is refreshing to know that these women understand the importance of knowing their status in addition to getting up-to-date information in preparation for their return to the community.
Every week we have the responsibility of introducing the option of knowing your status to new women entering into our facility. For many the opportunity to stop and take care of themselves is a somewhat overwhelming thought, as they were busy living life on their terms while in the world, as they say. While the stigma and discrimination are still alive here, they are running neck-and-neck with tolerance and understanding among both inmates and correction officers.
As we move forward to implement new HIV education programs, I can proudly say that women leaving state correctional facilities like Albion are well educated and interested in knowing their status, in addition to participating in all the available treatment options. I came to impart knowledge and empowerment, and that is what I am doing.