Up Close & Personal
Find inspiration in these first-person narratives from African Americans living with HIV. In the personal profiles, exclusive columns and blog entries below, you can get firsthand knowledge about dating and sex, substance abuse, homophobia, disclosure, religion, coming out, self-esteem, social justice, growing older and much more.
Personal Profiles | Bloggers | Movers & Shakers
"The secret to my survival is that I want to live," says HIV advocate, mother and long-term HIV survivor Michelle Lopez. Back in 1991, with her newborn baby in tow, Michelle left behind an abusive partner who, she later learned, knowingly put her at risk for HIV. Today, Michelle is a strong voice for her Caribbean and African-American community in the fight against HIV -- and she's raised her daughter, Raven, to be an advocate just like her.
Larry Bryant could have pursued a career in professional football if he'd wanted to -- HIV or no HIV. But instead, he decided to help improve the lives of those living with HIV. This long-term survivor of HIV now presses palms for the HIV advocacy group Housing Works, meeting with politicians to push for better funding and greater support for positive people throughout the U.S.
Lois Bates, a Chicago-based transgender woman, always knew that she was different from the other people around her, but it never stopped her from being her authentic self. This former U.S. Navy officer opens up about dealing with homophobia and transphobia; coping with HIV, diabetes and renal failure; and the importance of giving back to her community.
Khafre Abif: Freedom Rider
"Believe me when I say that I know how to share," writes Khafre, a longtime HIV survivor and father of two; "I have been in support group meetings all across the East Coast." A librarian by trade before he became a full-time advocate, he thrives on sharing useful information and providing guidance.
Ria Denise: Lyfe Positive
"This blog features the randomness of my psyche, realities of living with HIV, things I find interesting and the afrocentricity of me," writes Ria Denise. Ria tested HIV positive in 2004; now she's ready to let her voice be heard. "Welcome to my rediscovery."
Making HIV Testing Routine in the Heart of Harlem: Creating Unique Partnerships to Promote HIV Prevention and Testing
For Vanessa Austin, HIV services outreach coordinator at Harlem Hospital Center in New York City. the key to reaching the most people with her HIV advocacy work is training people to become "information warriors" who then spread messages about HIV prevention and testing to their peers.
Youth Activist Brings HIV Prevention to an Urban Children's Hospital
"Yes, babies are pretty, but they grow up to have sex ... and to potentially expose themselves to HIV," says HIV advocate Kai Chandler.
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