Yearly Archives: 2014

With Understanding Eyes

 Today an LTAI member shares with us what having HIV has taught her about being understanding of others.

“As a women living with HIV, I have learned a lot about tolerance and understanding. Having HIV, I have been on the receiving end of discrimination, and the stigma is always present. I know what it’s like to be judged based solely on that fact. I have learned never to judge other people because of the hurt it can cause them. I try to practice tolerance whenever I can.

When you have HIV, you look at the world differently and you are more sympathetic to other people and their disabilities. I believe HIV gives me a great deal more empathy than I would normally have. It gives me strength to look at a person from the inside out, and to see them with understanding eyes.

I always try to see the other person’s point of view before I render judgment. HIV has taught me that people deserve a chance and that there is no greater strength than knowledge and understanding.”

What are your thoughts about tolerance?    Write us a note in the comment box!!

National HIV Testing Day

16eNational HIV testing day is tomorrow June 27th and we thought it was the perfect time to remind everyone of the importance of ADVOCACY!

As one LTAI member always says, “Knowledge is power,” and one of the best ways to make a change in someone’s life is through education. We encourage all of our readers to be advocates, whether you are positive, a caregiver, or a provider; you can make a huge impact in your community by promoting HIV/AIDS testing.

Send out a FREE testing reminder designed by the Let’s Talk About It advocates by clicking here: http://letstalk.rwhp.org/ltai-e-cards/

There are many FREE testing sites for your community to take advantage of. Below are some great resources in the Gainesville area for you to share with your family, friends, and community members.

FREE CONFIDENTIAL HIV testing and counseling:
Library Partnership: 11am-3pm
Cone Park Library: 11am-3pm
HealthStreet: 9am-5pm                                                                                                                                            For more info contact HealthStreet at 352-294-4880

Macy’s/Gainesville Oaks Mall: 1pm-8pm                                                                                            Alachua County Health Department HIV program staff & MACY’s MAC AIDS foundation will offer FREE HIV Rapid testing.

One Woman’s Path: Part 4

Today we continue with one woman’s path to acceptance. This is part 4 of a 4-part series looking at one woman’s perspective on her HIV diagnosis. Check out PART 1 if you missed it!

The future:

I see a bright future for myself as an advocate for women who live with this virus. I also want to work with teens as well, and people that are not infected, to educate them about prevention. I see myself working with a whole lot of people who are not infected with the virus. I see myself earning my GED, and a Bachelor’s degree someday, and moving forward in life. I want to let people know there’s hope even during the storm, and they shouldn’t give up.

Making an impact:

First of all, making an impact is not about me. It’s about the lives of the people I influence; their joy, peace, happiness, hope, and change in their lives. I get joy from watching how I have helped lives change for the better.

*This post was adapted from a message originally published in the “Let’s talk About It Magazine.” 

A Doctor’s Waiting Room

Today we share a beautiful poem written by one of our LTAI blog readers, Ellen, titled “A Doctor’s Waiting Room”. We hope you enjoy it and please share your thoughts and comments below!

A DOCTOR’S WAITING ROOM

There are magazines where
You can find your disease
On the last three pages
While your doctor thinks
Up ways to tell you that
There is still hope.
There’s never a vending
Machine around to kick or
Or an empty ashtray to knock over
When you need one.
It’s always too hot or too cold
And the bathroom is always in use.
You’re sure you made an appointment
But it has been hours since the last person
Vacated the seat across from you.
Either it’s awfully quiet in here
Or it’s the unheard sound
Of a slow moving clock.

 

If you have something you would like to share with the LTAI blog community – a post, inspirational quote, video, etc. – feel free to submit it through our Suggestion/Submission Box. We’d love to post it!

You can also check out one of Ellen’s other post HERE!

One Woman’s Path: Part 3

Today we continue with one woman’s path to acceptance. This is part 3 of a 4-part series looking at one woman’s perspective on her HIV diagnosis. Check out PART 1 if you missed it!

Overcoming fear:

I say to myself, “Fear can be paralyzing. The only person who can stop me from going forward is me.” You can be your biggest enemy. Sometimes I feel like I want to give up. But now I know that it is okay for me to have those emotions and those feelings but, don’t stay there – get up and keep trying! I’m going to fulfill my dreams. I’m going to reach a lot of people’s lives to give them hope, but first, I have to work on myself.

Dealing with depression:

For me, when depression comes on, I go out and do something fun, pamper myself. I try to change the negative into positive and be around that special person who will lift my spirit up. Recently, I found out that it is okay for me to talk about my issues because you have to get it out. I was suppressing my feelings. And that’s not good. I know that depression can bring failure. I know that I don’t want to go back into that state of mind, I have to be around a positive environment.

*This post was adapted from a message originally published in the “Let’s talk About It Magazine.” 

Taking A Stand

Today is Thursday, which means it is time to Take A Stand!

TAS_May29th

Taking a Stand:

In my life!

In my family!

In my community!

In my church!

As LTAI Peer Advocates we want to remind you that Taking A Stand is something that we can do anywhere!

If you have an issue you are passionate about, share it – with your family community, church and anywhere else you can think of! Advocacy is about making our voices heard and getting your message to as many people as possible!

And, don’t forget, you can share how you are Taking A Stand! It’s easy–just send us a photo of your message and your feet and we’ll post your own Taking a Stand on the blog! Email photos to: letstalk@rwhp.org.

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One Woman’s Path: Part 2

Today we continue with one woman’s path to acceptance. This is part 2 of a 4-part series looking at one woman’s perspective on her HIV diagnosis. Check out PART 1 if you missed it!

Disclosing:

When I first found out my status at the doctor’s office, my sister was with me. That same day I told my god sister. That same week, I told my pastors, and my co-pastor introduced me to one of the church counselors. That was the best thing I could have ever done, to tell my pastors, because they directed me in the right path – they gave me the strength that I needed. They gave me hope and they were my support system from day one. They let me know that HIV is not the end of the world.

My daughter is my pride and joy. She’s my jewel. I was able to tell her about my HIV status when I was getting ready to tell my congregation. I felt that before anyone else knew, she needed to know and I had to educate her about what was going on. I had to let her know that she might get teased and I wanted to prepare her for that. I don’t think she fully understood because she was only eleven, but I brought it down to her level.

Connecting with other positive women and making an impact:

After I disclosed to my congregation that I was HIV positive, I was introduced to a member of PEP club (a support group in Gainesville) by one of the church counselors and a week later, the support group, “Let’s Talk About It.” I felt that it was time to connect with other women who were positive. I needed to be around positive women who were living with the virus to find out how they handled it.

*This post was adapted from a message originally published in the “Let’s talk About It Magazine.”

Overcoming

Just about all of us face daily challenges. However, to overcome those challenges, so you come out stronger and healthier, it’s important to have a strategy— a plan to diminish the stress!

LTAI members want to share with you what we do to overcome challenges in our lives. So, keeping checking back as we’ll be posting these over the next couple of weeks in our “Overcoming” series!

Here’s a preview of what one member does…

“Prayer, meditation and getting feedback. I tend to make mountains out of molehills and distort the reality in a millisecond. I use the feedback to make a decision toward a solution. Sometimes it’s to not do anything at all. Sometimes it’s a giant leap of faith into the ‘uncomfort zone.’ I try to be courageous no matter what.”

Look for more great suggestions in our upcoming blog posts.

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Advocacy Alert

The AIDS Institute files an HIV/AIDS Discrimination Complaint Against Four Florida Health Insurers

At LTAI, we thought it important to bring attention to a serious issue of discrimination in Florida. A lawsuit was brought against four health insurance companies in Florida which are being charged with discriminating against patients living with HIV, including higher co-pays on all HIV medications. Those companies area: CoventryOne, Cigna, Humana and Preferred Medical. Those bringing the law suit believe that these insurance companies actions are an attempt to steer people living with HIV/AIDS away from their insurance programs, a clear violation of the Affordable Care Act!

Thanks to a LTAI Peer Advocate and blogger for bringing this article to our attention! If you have insurance with these companies, you might want to learn more about what this might mean for you and your medical care!

Read more here: http://www.healthlaw.org/publications/browse-all-publications/HHS-HIV-Complaint#.U5CtzXCGx-k

One Woman’s Path: Part 1

Over the next couple of weeks we will be sharing the story of one woman’s path to accepting her HIV status. Read along as this LTAI Peer Advocate takes us from diagnosis to how she looks toward the future.

Accepting the diagnosis:
First, you have to accept that this is real. “This is my life; this is what I’m living with.” You have to accept what you are going through and to come out of denial.

Taking control of your life:
First of all, I had to give it over to God. He showed me how to give it over to him and let him direct my path. Then, I had to be real with myself, before I could be real with anyone else. Most importantly love yourself, respect yourself; know that you’re number one in your life. Don’t put anyone else before you, besides God. Just because you have this virus does not mean you have to stop living your life. Live your life, accomplish your goals, visions and dreams. Now, I don’t let this virus get me down, because I know there is life after my diagnosis. After being diagnosed, it made me a better person. I know that I can live and that I am the only one who can stop me from living.

Your past doesn’t dictate your future and you don’t have to look like what you’re going through. Before, I was coping with my problem through alcohol, so I had to deal with the alcoholism in order to move forward with my life. I didn’t respect myself as a person, I had low self-esteem and no confidence in me. God is showing me how to love me.

*This post was adapted from a message originally published in the “Let’s talk About It Magazine.”