Advocacy and Determination

When being an advocate, determination is a major factor in what drives our passion and cause. Being determined to fight and voice our opinions is how we have achieved so much progress in our fight against HIV/AIDS and how we will continue to do so.

The “D” in Advocacy is for “Determination”

Determination can take many shapes and forms, but one of the easiest ways to showcase our determination is by attending rallies, demonstrations, or events where we can actively advocate for HIV/AIDS and share our passion and our voice.

An example of this, for those living in Florida, is the 27th annual AIDS WALK MIAMI event, which is a 5k walk-a-thon fundraiser benefiting those who have been affected by HIV/AIDS in our South Florida communities. This event will be held on Sunday April 26th, 2015 in Miami Florida.

http://www.aidswalkmiami.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=1112156

Rallies and demonstrations like the one listed above are always being organized throughout the US. If they aren’t happening in your communities, we as advocates can take the first step and organize such rallies and demonstrations and share our determination and passion with those around us.

The following link is a calendar of events being held across the US that we can all get involved in and support.

http://www.poz.com/calendar.shtml

Share with us a comment below how you showcase your determination when it comes to fighting against HIV/AIDS?

Advocacy—Actively Supporting a Cause, Idea or Policy

During the upcoming months, LTAI members will be exploring their role in advocacy. Join us each week as we look at different elements of advocacy.

Advocacy requires action and engagement to truly advocate in support of a cause. Taking action such as, writing letters and making calls and being active in our communities, organizations, and within our social groups is the first and probably most important step in becoming an advocate for HIV/AIDS.

The “A” in Advocacy stands for “Action”

One easy way to take action in your community is by volunteering or getting involved in HIV/AIDS service organizations. These could be with small community groups or large national organizations, but either way you can make a difference.

The following are links to directories where you can look for HIV/AIDS service organizations around your area, so that you can take action today!

Three local groups:

GAAP: http://www.gaaponline.org/

PEP: http://alachua.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/wellness-programs/www-313-hiv/support-groups.html

and of course us at Let’s Talk About It: http://www.rwhp.org/letstalk.html

National Organizations:

http://www.thebody.com/index/hotlines/other.html#Florida

http://directory.poz.com/

What are some ways that you take action in your community? Share your thoughts with us in a comment below and let us know what advocacy means to you!

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

February 7th, 2015 is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. LTAI believes in the importance of recognizing all of our communities who are affected by HIV/AIDS.

Blacks/African Americans have disproportionately accounted for a greater percentage of people living with HIV. The observance of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day provides us with an opportunity to promote testing and encourage discussion about this epidemic in black communities.

According to the CDC, it is estimated that there are currently 74,000 Blacks with undiagnosed HIV in the US. Every day is a new opportunity to increase HIV education, testing, community involvement, and treatment across the nation.

Share your thoughts and comments with us below and how you might take the initiative to promote HIV education and testing in your community during this month!

New Year and New Beginnings

Happy Holidays to all of our readers! With the new year approaching, we wanted to invite you to send in your submissions to our blog,  share your comments and to invite your friends and family to also “like” us. 
Although we all continue to reach out to our communities with prevention education and resources, we are still constantly fighting the stigma.  There are many ways we can get involved and receive support from our communities and loved ones. One of these ways is by checking out the recently published LTAI Magazine titled “Put Yourself First”. To request a copy of this magazine along with other useful resources please give us a call at 352-372-1095 or click on the following link for more information: http://www.rwhp.org/letstalk.html
Recently two members of Let’s Talk About It, were invited to be interviewed on WCJB, by Stephanie Bechara, where they discussed how Let’s Talk About It has been able to provide them with the support and encouragement needed to fight the stigma and live their lives to the fullest. See what they had to say by clicking on the link below:
 
 
We invite everyone to come join the Let’s Talk About It “sisterhood!” Contact us for more information about our meetings and how you can get involved! On a final note , we love to hear from our readers, so send us your comments and thoughts below on what you would liked to see covered in the blog during the upcoming year. Wishing everyone a wonderful New Year filled with happiness and success!

LTAI World AIDS Day Event

In partnership with the Florida Museum of Natural History the women of Let’s Talk About It (LTAI) held a special event to commemorate World AIDS day (Monday, December 1st). Darcie MacMahon, head of exhibits and public programs, welcomed participants on this special commemorative event. Throughout the afternoon, local community leaders and peer advocates shared their testimonies and encouraged everyone to continue the fight against HIV/AIDS.

The butterfly has been a long standing symbol for the women of LTAI. Just as caterpillars experience a transformation, the women of LTAI have also endured tremendous journeys to become the strong beautiful women that they are today! A special recognition was given to one of the members of LTAI who created a beautiful piece of art portraying the transformative process which many of the women identify with.

The afternoon ended  with a tour of the butterfly rainforest, where the LTAI women had a chance to delight in the beauty of thousands of different butterflies in the company of their peer advocates. This event also marked the launching of the second LTAI magazine, Let’s Talk About It: Put Yourself First, written by the peer advocates of LTAI.

If you would like to read the article about the event published in the Gainesville Sun please click the following link: http://www.gainesville.com/article/20141201/ARTICLES/141209967?p=1&tc=pg&tc=ar

We would also like to share with you the photo gallery of the event at the following link:http://www.gainesville.com/apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Site=GS&Date=20141201&Category=MULTIMEDIA0301&ArtNo=120109994&Ref=PH&pl=1

If you would like to know more about LTAI and our monthly meetings or how you can get a copy of the second LTAI magazine please let us know in a comment below or give us a call at 352-372-1095, we’d love to hear from you!

Sisterhood

This week we continue to share with you what sisterhood means to the LTAI women and to remind you that the release of the second LTAI magazine is less than 2 weeks away! Let’s Talk About It has offered its members a source of support and friendship from which to draw on in their daily lives. Here are a few testimonials on how LTAI has provided us with a loving group of friends and sisters:

 “ Always having someone there to support and encourage you; to watch your back.”

“ Support and Friendship. They understand my health issues and some of my family problems.”

“We are all on this journey together called life”

“We are in our own group of love”

If you would like to know more about our monthly LTAI meetings or how to get a copy of the second issue of the LTAI Magazine “Put Yourself First” drop us a note in a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!

Sisterhood and New Beginnings

The Woman of LTAI are proud to announce the upcoming release of their second magazine, “Let’s Talk about it” volume 2 titled “Put Yourself First”. This magazine follows the LTAI women on their journey of growth and acceptance as they support and inspire each other in their fight against HIV. This magazine highlights the importance of advocacy as the women share their stories, tips, recommendations, and personal victories with their peers and community.

This month we will share with you an excerpt from the magazine titled “Sisterhood” where the LTAI women share with you what sisterhood means to them and how they have been able to find a loving and supportive family through “Let’s Talk About It”. Check back every week to read these amazing testimonials and get ready for the release of the second LTAI Magazine on December 1st 2014.

Here is what the women have to say about sisterhood:

 “I’m never alone. It is so good to be with women who have been where I’ve been and are sharing the same struggles. I love this group of women like family.”

“To be empowered and finally have a voice. To be heard and strengthened by my peers. “

If you would like a copy of the second LTAI Magazine or if you would like more information about LTAI and our monthly meetings, let us know in a comment below!

What Makes You Feel Powerful?

Feeling powerful can take many forms, and some people may find this power in doing the things they love such as hobbies or pastimes. Confidence can also be a power booster, and something as simple as doing something nice for others or putting on some of your favorite heels can go a long way in empowering you and making you feel strong and beautiful. The LTAI women share with you how these simple things can make a difference in their lives by making them feel confident and strong. Here is what they have to say about what makes them feel powerful:

“To dress nice and walk out with my head high with confidence

“When I am with the people that let me sing songs, that makes them feel good inside. When they can talk about how it makes them feel inside and what it does to them. This is what I love to do, sing, and take care of others to put a smile on their faces.”

What are some things that you love to do that also make you feel powerful? Share your thoughts with us below and let us know what you think!

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

As we continue our discussion of intimate partner violence we focus our attention on “power” and how this power struggle between partners can become more complicated with HIV status. Domestic violence and abuse often times exploit this power and use factors such as money, status, health, and sometimes even children to make HIV positive women feel vulnerable and helpless.

The LTAI women share some words of encouragement to anyone who might be in this situation:

You are not alone. We are all broken in some way, let’s be broken together. Maybe we were never meant to be complete. We stand stronger together.”

“You are not alone. There is always help out there for you. You are stronger than this and you will overcome this. Everybody in life has challenges and they should not define you.”

There is so much we can do to support and advocate for HIV positive women and to end these power imbalances. We can encourage senators and representatives to support legislation like HR. 1843; S. 1790: The REPEAL (Repeal Existing Policies that Encourage and Allow Legal) HIV Discrimination Act of 2013. We can also support programs like “Common Threads” that promote economic justice and healing for women with HIV. To learn more about advocacy and support visit this link: http://pwnusa.wordpress.com/2014/10/16/social-media-tools-end-vawhiv/

Can you think of any other ways to continue fighting violence and abuse against HIV positive women? Share your thoughts with us in a comment below!