Category Archives: Action Tips

National Youth HIV/ AIDS Awareness Day!

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

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Helping Others

We as women, are naturally nurturers. 

As a species, we are made to have children and give of ourselves, sometimes at an early age. We continue to grow and with us, so does our need to care for others. We care for our husbands or significant other, elderly parents, and other family members. We even look for jobs nurturing complete strangers. We tend to think that our lives are not whole unless we do so. This is not necessarily true. While running around as if we are superwomen, the one thing that we forget to do is to care for ourselves.  Remember ladies, while we listen and care for others, we must also ‘step outside’ of our self and realize that if we don’t understand that ‘WE’ are #1, then the others we care for, will miss us.  
Life has many meanings and we must be on the up and up, mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We can achieve this by helping others as well as helping ourselves.

What do you do for others that you find is good for you?

National Women and Girls HIV/ AIDS Awareness Day!

March 10th

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/

Preferred Language 101

We use language in everything we do and the language that we use may allow others to be stereotypical when it comes to us who are affected by HIV. People copycat the language that is used, first by us, and then from the media, doctors and other people that we admire.

Most of the time language is used incorrectly, sometimes on purpose and sometimes by accident -thereby lack of education. It also carries stereotypical factors and concepts.  This language alienates those affected by these messages.

Since the beginning of HIV and AIDS we have seen and heard stigmatizing messages, which change the way we feel about ourselves.  We say we are trying to improve this, but people are still doing the same thing. In order to use better language, we must become more educated and share what we have learned. Terminology is important–from the words we speak to the illustrations that we paint.

Recently, many groups have surfaced that explicitly discuss new and upcoming HIV-related terms. According to some articles, “Preferred Language” helps remove judgment from the individual and rather, focuses on the individual.

There are some words that people use that may be demeaning and cause stigma, and then there are the “Preferred” words that may be used instead that are less harmful, with a meaning that is more understandable.  Try changing your terminology, which can change the way you think.

Stigmatizing words Preferred Language
HIV patient Person living with HIV
Died from AIDS Died from AIDS- related illness
HIV Virus  HIV (otherwise it is a redundant use of HIV)
Prostitution or prostitute  Sex worker or sale of sexual services
Became infected Contracted/Acquired

 

Can you think of some stigmatizing language along with its ‘Preferred Language” that can be used instead? 

For further information, check out the discussion in Poz:

https://www.poz.com/article/vickie-lynn-valerie-wojciechowicz-28210-9008

or more terms at:

http://www.unaids.org/en/resources/documents/2015/2015_terminology_guidelines

 

The Focusing of Choice

Goals are the passing landmarks that indeed tell us that we are moving… goals commit us to life.

HIV has our attention, but should it have ALL of our attention? Sometimes, we make HIV all that we see in our horizon. But that is a choice.  We can choose to focus only on HIV or we can choose to focus on our dreams and goals separately from HIV.  We all need to see that what we focus on, is our choice.  If we choose to focus on the positive lessons of HIV, it can teach us that we can discover dreams that we would like to look forward to.

What are our goals? Can we write them down? Are my goals reachable? What have I been focusing on? Have I been exercising my right to choose? Have I been going along with what media has been telling me to go along with? Are my goals too easy or are they challenging? What do I really want to be? How do I really want to live my life? What did I really want to be as a child? So what are my DREAMS?

Think about your life’s purpose and know that you have choices. Choose a purpose and goals that ring true in your heart.

Self-love is the BEST love

As we reflect on love and loving each other in this month of February, it’s important to also focus on loving our self.

“You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.” – Anonymous

One of the peer advocates shared her sentiments about loving herself this upcoming holiday:

I’m not going to lie, I struggle with depression sometimes. Everyday is not perfect, but I understand that in order to love others or be able to help them, I have to love myself first.

When asked what self-love means to her and why it is important, she replies:

I define self-love as the ability of combining my mind, body and spirit with the over-arching goal of being well. Sometimes, I take a Zumba class when I’m feeling down or counseling to seek the help I may possibly need. “The past is history, the future is a mystery, and today is a gift, that is why you call it present.” We have to spend time focusing on the now and enjoying ourselves now.

When asked about plans for this upcoming Valentine’s Day that would promote self-love, she suggested:

Going to get a pedicure/ manicure, running a nice bubble bath, and/or getting a massage. Whatever feels good to you- do it. Take that time out for yourself!

Now the question is posed to you, what is your definition of loving yourself?

I am my Brother/Sister’s Keeper: Fight HIV/AIDS

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.

2016 Theme:

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/

Pay It Forward

It’s a new year! “What you can do for others in 2016?”. Here are some of our ideas:

 
“Become more involved as an advocate in the HIV field- advocate for women and others living with HIV.”

“Educate and advocate. Educate the unknowing- especially in rural Central Florida.”

“Try to get more women to come to meetings and spread LTAI to other counties.”

“Helping others balance mind, body, and spirit.”

“I expect to get to know others and the women in the group. Communicate with my pen pals.”

“Help with changing HIV criminalization laws.”

 
One of the LTAI ladies explained her notable motto, Pay It Forward. It is an inspiring way of thinking about why we need to serve others. Here are some of her sentiments:

“I want to give back to others. When I first found out that I was diagnosed HIV positive, because of the lack of research available on the virus, some health professionals were afraid to touch me. But there were those very few who still treated me like a human being- which made living with this virus okay. If we can focus on achieving optimal mind, body, and spirit, we can be in a better place where we can help women and potentially be a domino effect for the good. Paying it forward.”

 
In the New Year, how will you pay it forward?