ABOUT THIS SPOTLIGHT SERIES: According to the CDC, the U.S. South reports some of the highest HIV diagnosis rates and is responsible for 45% of new AIDS diagnoses -- meaning that we are catching people living with HIV after many years of being positive and being untreated. The South also accounts for 40% of the population that is living with an AIDS diagnosis and 48% of deaths from an AIDS-related illness. In this series, TheBody.com dives into the stories and realities of people living across the U.S. South and shares their stories in order to break the stigma.
After Monica became HIV positive through a blood transfusion in the early 1980s, she gave birth to an HIV-positive baby boy who passed away at a young age. Throughout his life and hers, she has faced the gamut of HIV stigma: Her son was asked not to attend school with other children, and Monica was asked to leave her town. She told them she wouldn't go.
Two things immediately turned on that light that still glows in my mind. One, the word "hello," because it was a bit formal for the South, no matter who was calling, and as long as they had that slow Southeastern drawl, casual and lazy, "hello" was a formal call. Second, they used my first name, which only teachers, police and -- in this case -- strangers would use.
A glance into the world of a HIV Positive young African American artist navigating the Atlanta safari with love, sex and art. From the crazies to the serious, the life of award winning artist Antron Reshaud Olukayode is anything but dull.
Dee Dee Chamblee was diagnosed at a time when people were dying all around her, and she damn near expected to get HIV. Living in the South in 1987, she describes what was happening around her as a kind of holocaust. However, even after the drug use, sex work and jail time, Dee Dee has risen like a phoenix and founded LaGender, a transadvocacy group in Atlanta.