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Infected! Oh, My!

April 5, 2014

I'm not 'infected' with HIV ... I'm 'living' with HIV!

How many of you remember being told that you had tested positive for the antibodies which cause HIV? I remember it like it was yesterday! The results were shocking, nothing would EVER be the same! I was filled with dread, I was filled with shame, and I was filled with fear. Took me a few years to get comfortable in my skin.

And so, as most of us activists/advocates take deeper looks at words, I found a word which is offensive to me, particularly in the HIV platform -- but could very well fit any situation.

The word "infected" bothers me.

Dictionary.com gives these few definitions of the verb 'infected':

  • contaminated
  • tainted
  • corrupted

These are not words most of us would like to be associated with, whatever our medical condition.

I believe that one of the first steps to living a more positive life, begins in how we think about ourselves. We cannot be healthy or begin on a holistic journey, if we think of ourselves as contaminated or tainted or corrupted.

By the same token, if society puts that label on us, it is no wonder they would feel they need to distance themselves from us or place us in boxes which stigmatize us.

The truth of the matter is: I am not tainted. I am not corrupted. Nor am I contaminated.

That being said: neither are you.

"As you think, so shall you become" -- Bruce Lee

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This article was provided by TheBody.com.

See Also
What Does HIV/AIDS Stigma Look Like in Your Life?
More on Stigma and HIV/AIDS


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Is the Ribbon Enough?


Rev. Andrena Ingram

Rev. Andrena Ingram

Reverend Andrena Ingram (also known as "Pastor Andrena" or "Pastor Ingram") has become a strong advocate for those living in the margins, as she once was. She is an activist in the HIV/AIDS arena, herself living openly and unabashedly with the HIV virus for over 22+ years.

Raised in South Jamaica, New York, Reverend Ingram served seven years of active duty in the U.S. Army. She would later move to the South Bronx, where she attended Transfiguration Lutheran Church with Pastor Heidi Neumark as her pastor and mentor -- empowering her to rise up out of herself and her life challenges, which seemed to her, at the time, insurmountable.

Reverend Ingram is a graduate of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, with a Master of Divinity. She has been the pastor of St. Michael's Lutheran Church on Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, Pa., for the past four years.

Reverend Ingram can frequently be found speaking about HIV/AIDS, encouraging everyone "to know your status, get tested, and be informed." Silence = Death.

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