What I Would Tell Another Woman About PWN Speak Up Summit 2016

With HIV stigma, you are not alone; other women are scared, ashamed and worried that someone will find out about their HIV status. Find a group, organization or friend you can confide in so you can talk. You are not alone.

September 27-30, 2016, in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, I attended a women's conference with 250 women both diagnosed with HIV and not diagnosed with HIV. People were diagnosed from over 30 years ago all the way down to a year ago. It was a great experience, something that every woman that has been diagnosed with HIV should attend. The women embraced everyone with love and made the newly diagnosed women feel a sense of comfort, hope and relief. It was a place to learn about different HIV issues that all women seem to face.

What would I tell another woman that has been diagnosed with HIV about the PWN Speak Up Summit? I would tell her that, for a woman diagnosed with HIV, it was the most refreshing, vivid and comforting conference and will give her hope in so many ways. I would tell her it will help in so many ways by allowing her to find her place and who she is. It will lift up her spirits and make her cry, but her cries will be of joy knowing that she is not alone in this fight. I would tell her she will find sister love among so many other women who care so much about her. The weight on her shoulders will be gone because she will know that she has found sisterhood with many other women going through the same thing. Hopefully it will get rid of her self-stigma as she walks around and looks at all the thriving women showing her that she can live a great, healthy, happy, vibrant life with HIV.

We women need to realize that HIV is not who you are; you are a BEAUTY, a gem, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend and most of all a human being. Never let the words of someone else destroy the awesome woman you are. Live your life for you and not for anyone else; be happy in your own skin and know that you can kick HIV in the butt all day long!! So, I say, if you ever have a chance, make sure you find a PWN chapter in your state and become a member so you can be among Sisterhood, Solidarity and Action words by PWN. I want to say thank you to all the women who worked so hard to put this conference together and I will see you next year.

Tammy Garrett, Davina Conner, Barb Cardell and Kari Hartel
Tammy Garrett, Davina Conner, Barb Cardell and Kari Hartel
Davina Conner