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HIV/AIDS Resource Center for African Americans
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Podcasts

How Have Your Relationships With Family and Friends Changed Since You Were Diagnosed?

podcasts


Larry Bryant
Larry Bryant
National Field Organizer, Housing Works, Inc., Washington, D.C.

I took me five years before I mentioned it to anyone, and the first person I mentioned it to was my mom. My family has been supportive, my parents and brothers and sisters. They were the first people who were excited when I started doing this work, and they have followed me -- especially my dad, almost as closely with this as when I played football, and kept my articles and ... I've been very fortunate to have that support from my family.
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Keith Green
Keith Green
Associate Editor, Test Positive Aware Network, Chicago, Ill.

My relationships with my family and friends have greatly improved. There is a greater level of honesty and openness. When I was forced to have a dialogue about my HIV status, everything else became, like, nothing. Sexuality, whatever, you know. I have really seen that I do have people in my life who love me unconditionally, and I think that has been the thing that has kept me alive.
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Shelton Jackson
Shelton Jackson
Author, SSJ Publishing, Baltimore, Md.

For the longest time I went under this rule that if we weren't having sex, that was none of your business. But the more I go out and I talk to people, the more I write, the more I realize that my coming out and disclosing my HIV status empowers other people. So now it's a common thing. It's not a big thing for me to say, "Hello, my name is Shelton Jackson and I'm HIV positive." Because just by coming out and saying that, you would be surprised at how it empowers other people. My oldest son, I met him in Atlanta at a scholarship that we had both applied for and we were roommates, and that was the way I introduced myself. From that moment on, he has been looking up to me. He said to me the other day, "I can't believe that you just came out and said that to me, like it wasn't nothing." I'm like, "It's not. It's just who I am."
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Michelle Lopez
Michelle Lopez
Treatment Administrator, Community Healthcare Network, New York, N.Y.

My relationships with my family have changed tremendously, and all for the good! One, I have educated my family to the extent where my family knows now that if Michelle is around, at some point, we are going to talk about HIV and AIDS. It's part of our family discussion. It has also brought me closer to family members. It all really helps me to embrace and get other people to embrace who we are, and be able to just learn, love and share.
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Want more podcasts? Check out what African-American AIDS activist leaders and health professionals had to say in response to these questions:

What is the most critical HIV/AIDS issue facing the African-American community?
What are the top myths that you encounter about HIV/AIDS in the African-American community?




 

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