ON THE PERSONAL SIDE
This Positive Life Video Series: An Interview With Dee Borrego
At 21, Dee Borrego not only received an HIV diagnosis, but came out as a transgender woman, struggled with drug addiction and survived a breakup with her boyfriend. In this inspiring interview, Dee talks about overcoming her obstacles; her parents' journey to accepting her for who she is; and the importance of speaking out about HIV/AIDS and for the transgender community.
James: Sometimes, Before You Can Rise, You Need to Hit Bottom (Video)
When James was diagnosed with HIV at the age of 40, he turned to alcohol and drugs as a way to cope. Before he could truly begin to accept and treat his HIV, he had to take the first step: beating an addiction to crack. In this Positive Project video, James discusses the denial he felt after being diagnosed, his recovery from addiction and his 20-year journey living with HIV.
In Mississippi, Scarred But Strong
"For people living with HIV in Mississippi, the stigma surrounding the disease is often more frightening than the disease itself," Housing Works' Julie Turkewitz writes. In this photo essay, Housing Works highlights six HIV-positive Mississippians "whose lives have been scarred by stigma -- but who have chosen to fight back."
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These feet have already left,
I can feel it in my chest; these
lips want to smile the day away.
--From "God Touches Me," by Gisele
To mark National Poetry Month in the U.S., we're posting our readers' poetry submissions about living with, or being affected by, HIV/AIDS!
Anything you write is fair game. Pieces can be literal or abstract, serious or funny, short or long (but hopefully not too long) -- whatever you want. Select poems will be featured on our site and in email newsletters all this month. Click here for more detailed information on how you can submit your poem (anonymously, if you'd like).
HIV NEWS & VIEWS
The Struggles of Living With HIV Behind Bars
Life in prison can be difficult enough as it is. But life in prison with HIV? "Being HIV positive in prison comes with its own challenges -- ones never faced by people with HIV outside prison or by prisoners who are HIV negative," David McLay and Ann Silversides write. This article from the Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange provides a stark look inside the lives of HIV-positive people behind prison walls.
Illustration: Raymond Biesinger
April 28 Only: Fight HIV/AIDS by Going Out for Dinner
It's the annual "Dining Out for Life" event, and the concept is simple: On April 28, you eat breakfast, lunch or dinner at any of the more than 3,500 participating restaurants in 56 cities across North America (most of which are in the continental U.S.). The restaurant then donates a portion of the proceeds to a particular HIV/AIDS organization in that area.
Poverty! Famine! AIDS! South Park Rabble-Rousers Delve Into Ugandan AIDS Crisis
In their new Broadway musical, The Book of Mormon, the creators of South Park have taken on the Ugandan AIDS crisis, of all things. Yes, it's offensive and crass, but it's also critically acclaimed and potentially effective. Housing Works' Julie Turkewitz asks: "Will someone -- anyone -- be able to harness this bubble of media attention to educate people about AIDS in Uganda?"
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Feeling Trapped and Suicidal. How Do I Help Myself and My Baby?
(A recent post from the "Living With HIV" board)
"I'm living with the father of my son. He's aware of my status, but he is not there for me emotionally, physically, socially or financially. Basically, he does nothing for me besides stressing me out. ... I think he secretly wants me to die. When I go to the hospital he doesn't even ask how it was. He's always cheating on me. I left him in 2009 and started a quick fling and contracted HIV. After I started becoming ill, I ended the fling and got really worried and confided in him after I tested positive. We cried and got back together shortly after that. But I think he now holds my status against me. Honestly, I'm feeling suicidal. Should I just give him the baby and leave?"
Click here to join this discussion, or to start your own!
To do this, you'll need to register with TheBody.com's bulletin boards if you're a new user. Registration is quick and anonymous (all you need is an email address) -- click here to get started!
HIV TREATMENT & HEALTH ISSUES
What Every HIV-Positive Woman Should Know About the Care and Prevention of Gynecological Problems
"For women living with HIV, there are many aspects to staying healthy. You're off to a good start if you take your medications on schedule, eat well, and get regular exercise. But to take care of your whole body, you need to get regular gynecologic (GYN) care from a health care provider." In this overview, our partners at The Well Project walk you through what to expect during your GYN visits.
Four Easy Steps To Protect Yourself From Foodborne Illness
For anyone living with HIV, avoiding illness is a top priority, of course. Among other precautions, this means watching out for foods that may unexpectedly get you sick. The Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange provides this crash course on safe eating for HIVers, and provides four quick, easy steps to properly handling and preparing your food.
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Fred (From Portland, Ore.) on "Rape and Domestic Violence Under DADT (Don't Ask, Don't Tell)"
"Most of us, including me, do not have to find a way to survive the horrific ordeal Justin managed to overcome; however, I have been through enough 'relationships' with guys who are capable of psychological abuse of the worst sort, ripping the victim of money, etc. ... Even so, I will this week celebrate 9 years with a fantastic guy. Difficult moments, yes, but our bond grows wider, sweeter year after year. Worth the risk? You bet it is!"
Read the rest of Fred's comment and join the discussion on this article!
HIV TRANSMISSION & EDUCATION
Brandon Lacy Campos: Addiction, HIV and the Healing That We Need
"All the prevention messages in the world don't mean s*** without the work to heal the wounds that most of us are born with," blogger Brandon Lacy Campos writes. In this brutally honest entry, Brandon argues that HIV infection and substance abuse issues are symptoms of homophobia in our society, and urges HIV prevention strategies to focus on healing, as opposed to relying on fear and shame.
Fogcityjohn: With Friends Like These ... Monica Sweeney's Gift to the Religious Right
The conversation about "It's Never Just HIV" -- the controversial HIV awareness campaign launched by the New York City health department -- is far from over, blogger Fogtcityjohn writes. In the latest development, a right-wing conservative politician from Iowa has used the campaign to justify his opposition to marriage equality by claiming that being gay is a public health risk.
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