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!

What Makes You Feel Powerful?

This week we continue to share how the LTAI women empower themselves and use this power to strengthen their own lives and that of those around them.. Here is what a couple women had to say about what empowers them:

“Being surrounded by loving family, members like my mom and my faith helps me to feel strong and powerful.”

Loving myself, putting me first, not giving my power away.”’

Does your faith or family empower you? What other things do you do to feel empowered? Let us know what you think in a comment below!

 

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the women at LTAI wanted to share with you some words of encouragement about this topic.

It is important to remember that for many survivors of domestic violence, gathering the courage to speak up takes support and encouragement from others. All of us can find ways to raise awareness about domestic violence and ease the pain and stigma for those that we may know who are survivors. Remember, as many of our LTAI women have said “you are never alone!”

Thoughts from a peer:

“It’s not your fault and never let anyone take your voice. You are not alone and there are people, men and women that you can talk to, so never feel like you are all by yourself. We all deserve love without pain. If love gives you pain, you don’t need it. Pick yourself up and speak out. It’s hard to speak up but love yourself enough to speak up. You are your first line of defense. “

In what other ways can we show support to survivors of domestic violence? Share your thoughts with us in a comment below!

What Makes You Feel Powerful?

Feeling powerful and confident can sometimes be hard throughout lives twists and turns. Some of the LTAI women wanted to share with you what empowers them, and how this power and strength makes them feel invincible! Whether it be singing, helping others, or even dressing up we can all find something that gives us that extra push in life when we need it the most. Here is what a few of the women had to say about what makes them feel powerful.

“Being knowledgeable and teaching others.”

“Sharing my knowledge with others and them to totally be interested in what I have to share.”

“When I help someone with a problem it makes me feel invincible.”

For these women sharing their knowledge and skills can be very empowering. Being there for others can give us purpose and make us feel like we are truly making a difference in someone’s life. Is this something that you can relate to? We want to know what makes you feel powerful! Share your thoughts below, we’d love to hear from you!

 

Advice from a Caregiver: Part 4

Today we conclude our “Advice from a Caregiver” series and our final question is about the importance of educating others about HIV. One caregiver shares how HIV doesn’t discriminate and it can affect anyone both directly and indirectly. As we conclude this series let us think about how we can work to reduce the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS so that we too can be supportive friends, and advocates

What message do you share when educating others?

“You can learn a lot from people with HIV. I think no matter what, education is key. You see their perseverance and how they deal with life, dealing with the stigma and what they are able to overcome. It should be your number one goal to reduce that stigma because HIV can affect anyone. That’s my message when I go out and talk about HIV. I say that it can affect anyone, you are not out of the range [of infection], and no one is invincible. HIV/AIDS doesn’t discriminate and it could be your friend, your brother, your sister, your mom or your dad. Anyone in your life can get it! How are you going to react to that?”

Do you have any extra tips on how to reduce the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS? Share with us your thoughts and comments below!

Click on the links to see PART 1, PART2, or PART 3!

Overcoming

Today we continue with our “Overcoming Series” and learn how LTAI members cope with their day-to-day challenges. It is important to find what works for you so that you can have a strategy to fight through the challenges. If you missed the last “Overcoming” post you can check it out HERE!

“I stop and reflect about how much I do have – friends, family, that I can always turn to.”

“I overcome my challenges by sticking them out and seeing them through until their end.

Let us know how you deal with your daily challenges by leaving us a comment below! We’d love to hear from you!