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 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!
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 lovewithout 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!
Got your attention, right? It certainly got ours! As you can see, rates of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) are especially high among young people. This month, during STI Awareness Month, you are encouraged to advocate for STI testing in your community. So, if you know anyone under the age of 25- a daughter, son, niece, nephew, grandchild, or just a friend- discuss this information with them and encourage them to be proactive about their sexual health.
What factors do you think influence high STI rates?
Who will you share this with today?
Is just talking about it enough? Is there anything else we can do?
Share your thoughts below with other blog readers.
And, don’t forget, STI’s don’t discriminate based on age-EVERYONE should know about STI’s. Encourage everyone you know to get tested!
Recently, I was volunteering at an after school program at a local middle school. The students were watching a movie and one of the characters made a comment about HIV. I overheard one of the student’s say, “What is HIV?” I was surprised. I thought to myself, “In this day and age, when so many individuals are affected by HIV, how could this student not know about it?” I decided to pause the movie and have a discussion with the class about HIV.
According to the organization “Amplify Your Voice,” today’s young people are the first generation who have never known a world without HIV and AIDS, which is why I was so surprised when the student expressed that he didn’t know about HIV. In the United States, one in four new HIV infections are among youth ages 13 to 24. And, take a look at this statistic….
Educating our youth is important.What can we do to educate youth about HIV in our own communities?
Today is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day! Get excited! This day is dedicated to us—to all of the hard work and advocacy that we do!
For this special day, Let’s Talk About It partnered with Farmworker Justice and other organizations for an HIV “word cloud” initiative. Organizations were asked to share about the impact of HIV on women and girls, and these thoughts were used to create “word clouds.” The photo below represents the responses, in “word cloud,” format from all the organizations who participated. A tree was used to represent strength, courage, life and growth.
Take a look at the Farmworker Justice Facebook Album to see the individual word clouds! Look for the ones contributed by the Let’s Talk About It program! Don’t forget to share the photos on your Facebook page if you have one to spread the word about National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day!
HIV is impacting the lives of women and girls everyday! During the month of March, a special day is set aside to increase women’s awareness of HIV- encouraging women to take a little extra time to talk about their health. This year, March 10th is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.
Here’ s some ways you can get involved:
1) Learn about how HIV is impacting the lives of women and girl all across our country
2) Spread the word, by talking to people that you know about the things you have learned
3) Join up with others at events to celebrate the work being done!
As women living with HIV, or a caregiver to someone living with HIV, you know first-hand the impact it has on the lives of women. Remember, your voice can make a difference.
To learn more about this special day, check out the official website here.
The National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS is underway! Have you attended any special events in honor of this HIV awareness day?
For those living in the Gainesville, FL area, we want to inform you about a vigil coming up on March 13th. The event will take place 5:30pm-7:30pm at the Bo Diddley Community Plaza (111 E. University Ave., Gainesville, FL, 32635 )
To find out about events taking place all over the country in honor of National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS, check out the official website here.