First, I want to start off and say, I am not a presenter. I never have been. Getting up and talking in front of people seemed to be the worst kind of torture to me. I hated it and I never could remember all I was supposed to say or do. They say the only way to conquer a fear is to do it often and repeatedly.Recent events have allowed me to put this theory into practice. I have had to come out of my shell and actually speak to people. At first I was terrified about speaking in front of people and having all their eyes on me, it was a nerve-wracking feeling. Well, I gritted my teeth, buckled down to practice and got through it with a lot of help and support from others. Now I have been making presentations on a pretty regular basis, and this mostly involves talking to people about living with HIV and how it has had an impact on my life. Wanting to help other people living with HIV is what gave me the push to tackle more public speaking. I wanted to educate others on the disease, those living with it and those who are not.
Being able to help and educate people was important to me. It’s important that the word get out there that living with HIV is not a death sentence anymore, you can live a long and healthy life. I can’t say I still don’t get nervous before a presentation, but once I’m warmed up it’s usually a piece of cake. I usually practice what I’m going to say the night before, and it really helps when you have a partner to practice with. That way you have somebody besides yourself listening to your presentation, and they are able to give you feedback on it.
I would say you can really start speaking out anywhere, but probably keep it small at first. As long as you have the passion to educate, inform and help people you will be able to speak up anywhere. It doesn’t matter if you have the experience or not. Your passion will shine through.
June 27th is National HIV Testing Day. As we observe this day, take time to create awareness and encourage testing. So, I challenge you to take the first step as well and speak out.
Here are a few sites for additional information:
Share with us the steps that you take in observing this day.
Every year in June is national Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month (LGBT Pride Month). Early in its development, the LGBT Pride Month was only celebrated on the last Sunday of June as “Gay Pride Day,” but over the years, the designated day has expanded into a month-long celebration that came to also include lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgender individuals!
Now, celebrations include pride parades, picnics, parties, workshops, symposia, and concerts. LGBT Pride Month events attract millions of people from around the world! In addition, memorials are held for those members of our community who have been lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS. So, the purpose of this month is to honor and recognize the impact and progression that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have made for this community.
If you want to participate in any of these LGBT Pride Month festivities, please visit http://gainesvillepride.org/ for more information.
Image from: http://www.digitaljournal.com/image/68063
Let us know of any events in your area!
Every month 1,000 young people are infected with HIV and over 76,400 young people are currently living with HIV across the United States.
National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day (NYHAAD) is a day to educate the public about the impact of HIV and AIDS on young people as well as highlight the amazing work young people are doing across the country carrying out to fight the HIV & AIDS epidemic.
In the United States, one in four new HIV infections are among youth ages 13 to 24. Young people and supporters are determined to end this epidemic and on April 10th, we hope that you will help acknowledge the great work young people are already doing in the community!
According to NYHAAD, there are 5 simple ways you can help out:
1. Get tested!
2. Tune into a live conversation on the impact of HIV on youth on April 10 at 5:30 PM EST on HUFFINGTON POST LIVE
3. Follow NYHAAD on Facebook and Twitter using @YouthAIDSDay and #NYHAAD
4. Go to the Center for Disease Control website
5. Share NYHAAD’s new infographics on what young people need to get for an “AIDS-free generation”
If we’re not reaching out to these young people, an AIDS-Free Generation will be almost impossible to achieve. If you are interested in doing more to help helping out, commemorating, and/ or learning more about NYHAAD, please visit: amplifyyourvoice.org/nyhaad
Happy International Women’s Herstory Month! I am sure many of you know that this month is dedicated to commemorate all the accomplishments women have made and the initiatives we’ll continue to build!
With this in mind, it’s also important to note that today is the 11th Annual National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day! This year’s theme is ‘The Best Defense Is a Good Offense’ which seeks to ensure that women and girls have the proper information to make the best decisions about safer sex.
Whether you’re in a relationship, actively dating or having casual sex with other people, for both you and your partner’s health, you should take safe steps to prevent HIV transmission by:
1. Using a female or male condom during anal or vaginal intercourse
2. Being monogamous (having only one partner)
3. Abstaining from drugs and alcohol (which affects your judgment and increases chance of transmission)
4. Getting an HIV test
5. Consider the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) or post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to reduce the risk of HIV infection
For more information, please visit: http://www.womenshealth.gov/nwghaad/
As February commences, we all have a lot to celebrate: Valentine’s Day, Black History Month and the fact that we have a 29th day this month!
With all this in mind, we must also remember that this month, our community will also be celebrating National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on February 7, 2016! According to the Center for Disease and Control, in 2014, 44% of new HIV diagnoses in the United States were among African Americans showing that this community is disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS. Now in its 16th year, the national HIV testing and treatment community mobilization initiative focuses on the Black community in the United States.
I am my Brother/ Sister’s Keeper: Fight HIV/AIDS
Awareness Day includes four areas of focus, urging people to get:
1. Educated: Inform Black communities about the basics of HIV and AIDS.
2. Tested: Get tested and know your status. This supports the prevention of HIV, specifically those who are considered high risk.
3. Involved: Host and participate in Black Awareness Day events in the Black community– from organizing testing events to supporting AIDS organizations and providers.
4. Treated: Connect those who have been diagnosed with HIV to treatment and care. This will keep people healthy, living longer and reducing the chances of transmission.
How will you encourage people from ALL communities to get involved and stop the spread of HIV/AIDS?
For more information, please visit: http://nationalblackaidsday.org/
“To live with HIV is to live 2 lives. You are living a life of normality, but yet there is a part of it that is unreal. The unreal part is the one where HIV reigns supreme. It is the part that knows the pain, heartache, and strength it takes to go through something like that, but it is also the part that better understands tolerance and acceptance. It is the part that knows what unconditional love is, and it is also, more importantly, the part that makes you the person you are today. How many people can say that they get to live two lives, with each one being an integral part of that person’s spirit. We might have HIV, but we are stronger and better because of it.” These inspiring words are from a Let’s Talk About It Certified Peer Advocate. She understands that knowing your status is a way to care for yourself.
June 27 is National HIV Testing Day. Let’s Talk About It Peer Advocates work to end the stigma around HIV and offer support and resources to those women who are living with HIV or female caregivers. If you or a woman you know is living with HIV, we are here to help. firstname.lastname@example.org So get tested!
Yesterday April 10th marked an important awareness day on our fight against HIV/AIDS. This disease can affect anyone, even young people and it is important to continue fighting against the stigma and obstacles that people living with HIV/AIDS face on a day to day basis. This day is dedicated to the millions of young people who one way or another have become infected with the virus.
In the US today, almost 40% of new HIV infections are diagnosed in young people ages 13-29. This staggering number is a good reminder that we must continue to create awareness and encourage prevention as well as testing especially among our newer generations. It is important to include young people in the conversation about HIV/AIDS and to see them as leaders and strong allies who can inspire their peers to get tested and learn ways to protect themselves from this disease.
If you would like to know more about this awareness day and how HIV/AIDS is affecting millions of young people around the world, you can visit the following websites where you will find useful statistics as well as resources and ideas to take action today!
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!
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!
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!