Rae Lewis-Thornton Reveals Her Status on the Cover of Essence Magazine (1994)
Having served as the national youth director for the Rev. Jesse Jackson's 1984 and 1988 presidential campaigns, Rae Lewis-Thornton had political aspirations. She left those behind when she was diagnosed with HIV at the age of 23 in 1986. She learned of her status after donating blood to the Red Cross. In 1994, she revealed her status on the cover of Essence Magazine.
After that, Rae became a journalist dedicated to telling the stories of those living with HIV/AIDS. Rae served as a contributing editor for WBBM-TV, a CBS-owned and operated television station, for an ongoing series of personal stories of people living with HIV/AIDS, for which she received an Emmy Award. Now, she continues to use media -- social media -- to spread her message of HIV awareness. She held the first HIV/AIDS "tweet-up" in the U.S. in July 2010. Nowadays, she blogs with both video and text on her own website and on TheBody.com to tell the story of being a Diva Living With AIDS.
Comment by: Peter
Sat., Dec. 28, 2013 at 12:37 pm EST
The Comment Marvelyn Brown made was really quite stupid. She initially thought only Gay Men and Africans were susceptible or at risk for HIV. Ignorance.
My problem with her and many others is that African Americans see themselves as superior and different from Africans just because they were born in America. If HIV doesn't kill you, Ignorance will.
And what is it about Africans that makes them more at risk.... same thing ignorance and poverty. We Blacks in America are just as vulnerable as African Blacks.
Comment by: AnAppealToCommonSense
Fri., Feb. 15, 2013 at 4:06 am EST
Hi. I don't think Nelson Mandela should be included in this list. While his struggle against apartheid was admirable and he had an enormous task of uniting the nation once elected, one of the biggest problems of his presidency was ignoring the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic in South Africa. If you're going to include a former or current African president, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia is a better choice, as he was the first to publicly admit to his son having died of AIDS and has been involved in HIV/AIDS work since. I'd say Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, too, but his recent stances on condoms and homosexuality are negating his past leadership (Kaunda, along with Festus Mogae, back gay rights). And I'd also say that 46664 is nowhere near as important as the work Zachie Achmat with Treatment Action Campaign (I know he's considered "colored" in SA, so I'm thinking he must have some black ancestry) or the late Winston Zulu in Zambia, both widely known HIV/AIDS activists. If this is only about Black Americans, then why is Nelson Mandela included? Again, I admire the man for much of his work, but he's already received enough accolades, and his inclusion comes at the expense of others who are more deserving of praise in this topic.
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