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Transfusion of Grace

July 28, 2015

I had a conversation in a neighborhood cafe about the scope of my ministry ... and as I spoke about being an HIV activist, she actually wanted to know whether I contracted HIV through a blood transfusion.

This led to a perfect "why do you ask that question(?) moment." I am not saying that folks have not contracted HIV through a transfusion, because it was commonplace, until organizations/institutions began tightening up on checking blood supplies.

However, in my experience, I find that people nowadays will ask or assume that, because it is a "safe" explanation, and leads to less "judgment," if any.

It would be much easier to be accepted, and less blame and accountability with blood transfusions.

After talking about that for a minute, the person finally admitted that she assumed as much ... because I was dealing with the church ... and perhaps it would've made a difference had I said that. Maybe the church would look a little less critically at my diagnosis, because it wasn't my fault.


Maybe? Who knows? The church actually was afraid to send me to seminary because of one person's ignorance.

I chose to put everything on the table ... everything I had to offer ... ALL of me.

I contracted the virus by not protecting myself in certain situations. I contracted the virus from lack of education. I contracted the virus by putting myself at risk and being at risk.

I own my virus, and everything that comes with it. I take care of it as best I can. Presently, we get along positively.

I use my voice to encourage others to check themselves. Got trauma? That's a good start. Check it. Risky behaviors? Check it. Get help. Get educated.

Safest sex -- #abstinence.

Can't abstain? Protect yourself AND your partner. Use a condom/female dam.

#Gettested #KnowYourStatus so you may begin treatment if necessary.

Newly diagnosed?

You're not alone. Find safe people/person to talk to. Get involved in a support group. Talk openly and honestly with your doctor.

If you are in a situation or geographical location which makes disclosure unsafe, please be careful and take your time to find someone you can trust.

Finally, be positive! It's not the end of the world. You are still blessed!

Your life may just be a new beginning! #Grace abounds! Especially in challenging situations!

If I received anything: it has been a "transfusion of grace!"

Take care, know you are loved. Be a blessing!

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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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