“Our Ancestors Fought So That We Might Be Free-Even From HIV”
February 7, 2013 marks the 13th year for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, an HIV testing and treatment community mobilization initiative targeted at Blacks in the United States and across the Diaspora.
There are four specific focal points: education, testing, involvement, and treatment.
*Educationally, the focus is to get Blacks educated about the basics of HIV/AIDS in their local communities.
*Testing is at the core of this initiative, as it is hoped that Blacks will mark February 7 of every year as their annual or bi-annual day to get tested for HIV. This is vital for those who are sexually active and those at high risk of contracting HIV.
*When it comes to community and organization leadership, getting Blacks involved to serve is another key focus. We need Black people from all walks of life, economic classes, literacy levels, shades and tones as well as communities (large and small) to get connected to the work happening on the ground in their local areas.
*And lastly, for those living with HIV or newly testing positive for the virus, getting them connected to treatment and care services becomes paramount.
We cannot lead Black people towards HIV/AIDS education, prevention, testing, leadership or treatment unless you love them. And, we can’t save Black people from an epidemic unless we serve Black people.
To find a testing location close to you if an event is not listed here, go to http://hivtest.cdc.gov/
Your greatest opportunities are cleverly disguised as insurmountable problems. The principle of opportunity says that life is a series of obstacles and that these obstacles hold the key to your greatest opportunities if you only discipline yourself to see opportunities everywhere.
Anyone can make a mistake. That takes no genius. You should learn from your blunders. Convert them to unexpected benefits. To put the principle of opportunity into practice, you need to learn how to handle mistakes and how to profit from blunders.
First, admit the blunder the moment you know about it. You can never correct a situation if you don’t admit it exists. And if mistakes are uncorrected, they multiply and grow worse.
Second, assume accountability for the blunder. Unless you assume accountability both for your own mistakes and those of the people in your group, you cannot correct them and profit from them.
Third, evaluate the damage. Ask yourself such questions as: What effects will the blunder have by upsetting deadlines? How will this blunder interfere with the work of others? Will it adversely affect the “big picture”? How will it affect the testimony I have?
Fourth, do an in-depth study of the possible causes of the blunder. Blunders are the result of 1) an error in judgment, 2) poor planning, 3) insufficient information, or 4) defective follow-up. Examine all these areas in depth.
Fifth, immediately eliminate the causes for the blunder. Take action. Write down your plan. Work this into your goals program.
Sixth, salvage what you can. Make the most of the assets you have.
Seventh, revise your modus operandi so that the blunder won’t be repeated. Constantly evaluate what you do to see if it can be improved, not just in relation to this one blunder, but in relation to all your activities. This requires constant questioning and study.
Eighth, begin to execute the new program immediately. Procrastination will only make the situation worse. Begin your correction right away.
Ninth, use blunders as road signs as they mark both where you have been in the past, as well as where you should go in the future. Learn from your mistakes.
Tenth, remember that obstacles enhance leadership by 1) the credibility you develop with others who realize you have experienced what they are experiencing 2) the conditioning of your own spirit for service, and 3) the opportunity to demonstrate love, humility, and self-control.
There need to be two words of warning: first, a leader neither attempts to shine or whine. He or she must not complain that he or she is sacrificing. Second, it’s unrealistic and dishonoring to God to treat obstacles as though they don’t exist. They do.
The leader, under God, will develop the habit of creatively converting obstacles into opportunities. This habit will enhance one’s leadership by inspiring those who follow their leadership.
Adapted from Lead On, by John Edmund Haggai
“HIV and Nutrition”
Presented by Bethsheba Johnson, Gilead Sciences, ACNP
Monday, January 14th, 2013
6:00pm – 8:00pm
655 Broadway, Suite 200
Denver, CO 80203
(located on the 0 bus line and there’s a parking lot behind the building)
Gilead Sciences and The Issue of Blood Outreach
On World AIDS Day, 2012, the state of Colorado launched an anti-stigma and discrimination campaign. This endeavor has been a community effort spearheaded by individuals and organizations who are coming together to begin open and honest conversations about HIV stigma, the barriers it creates to healthy discussions around risk, testing and accessing care. Our goal is to also engage the positive community in honest conversations about HIV as well, because we also recognize that people living with HIV also have internalized stigmas that need to be brought to the forefront and addressed.
Thus the Compassion-Ending the Stigma Campaign was born. This is an educational campaign that asks people to take a survey that can be found on our website or face book page. The survey will be available through-out the month of December and will be available in both English and Spanish. The survey will measure an individual’s stigmatizing beliefs. With the information derived from the survey, Colorado Organizations Responding to AIDS (CORA) will take the data and share it on a national level.
As an African-American woman living openly with HIV, I have experienced stigma numerous times over the 26 years of my diagnosis. A very vivid memory is of a dear friend of mine who became my ally and an HIV educator to her mother, about my status. My friend is primary caregiver to her two beautiful grandsons. I have had very honest and open conversations with her about my diagnosis over the years, because in my journey I have learned that this chronic health condition of HIV is nothing to be ashamed of. It no longer has any power to dictate my actions, feelings or beliefs about myself. With this as my state of being, I have been able to share my truth (and fears) with my friend. So when her mother asked her if she was afraid to have me around her grandsons, for fear that I would transmit HIV to them, my friend very confidently was able to share with her mother that me and my health condition was nothing to be feared, and the reasons why.
I believe this is a responsibility we all have as people living with HIV. It is our hope that on World AIDS Day and beyond, that those in the Colorado community who will be speaking at, or engaged in a World AIDS Day event, will incorporate Compassion-Ending the Stigma Campaign into their message, and to encourage their audience to take the survey.
May we continue to embrace and rejoice in our truth, and to share that truth so that others will feel comfortable sharing their truth, and/or fear about being tested, as well as their fears and convictions about their HIV status.
Our contact information is:
Facebook Group: COMPASSION
Penny DeNoble ( A Positive Woman Living Positively)
600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 1,900 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 3 years to get that many views.
In 2012, there were 20 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 21 posts. There were 164 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 274 MB. That’s about 3 pictures per week.
The busiest day of the year was September 15th with 108 views. The most popular post that day was Photo Gallery.
How did they find this blog?
The top referring sites in 2012 were:
Some visitors came searching, mostly for principle of communication, issue of blood, principle of vision, and the principle of communication.
Where did they come from?
That’s 52 countries in all!
Most visitors came from The United States. Malaysia & India were not far behind.
This morning I sit with a heart of gratitude and deep reflection about what this World AIDS Day acknowledgment means to me.
I have been courageously fighting this battle of living with an HIV diagnosis for 26 years. The years have brought me many ups and downs, but I acknowledge and recognize that the Creator has preserved me for such a time as this, and the years have mainly been up! I have been chosen to live my life as a living witness of what living courageously and mindfully is all about! I am honored to be used to bring awareness, education, and inspiration… to whosoever will attend their ear to hear the message! I give thanks to all of those who have asked, inquired and loved me throughout the years! I also give thanks to all those who have rejected me out of their own fears and ignorance, for it’s actually not me you’ve rejected, but the God in me! You have given me the courage to continue to fight against the ignorance and missed education around HIV/AIDS. I wish to acknowledge and give thanks to all those who have gone before me, paving the way for me to live, and I want to live a life that ensures your struggles and lives have not been in vain….we continue to fight this fight, to make sure the next generations can live an AIDS-Free life! To all my brothers and sisters, allies and unenlightened ones, open up your hearts to hear the truth about HIV/AIDS. I wish to also invite those who have not yet disclosed their status; may today be your coming out day! Somebody’s life may depend on you sharing your story….
Today I desire that you all Live Well, Love Well, Speak Well and Teach Well!
Be in joy, for we are changing the world, one life and speaking event at a time!
The Issue of Blood Outreach’s November Educational Forum
“HIV and Criminalization in Colorado”
Presented by Rashida Richardson, Staff Attorney
The Center for HIV Law & Policy
Wednesday, November 14th, 2012
5:30pm – 8:00pm
*5:30pm-Hor d’ oeuvres
*6pm-8pm-Presentation and Panel Discussion (Magalie Lerman, Aleesa Brauer, Janiece Masterson, & Chanel Sanchez)
Auraria Campus Tivoli Turnhalle
1201 Fifth St.
Denver, CO 80204
On the Auraria Campus off of Auraria Parkway and Speer
-CHIP (Children’s Hospital Immunodeficiency Program)
-OWH (Office of Women’s Health)
-GLBTSS at Auraria Campus
-IWSS at Metro College
-The Greater Denver Interfaith Initiative
-The Denver HIV Resources Planning Council
Are We Really That Different from Cicely Bolden?
By Kat Griffith
Cicely Bolden was a young woman who was stabbed to death by her boyfriend because of her HIV status. After school, her young children found her at home, murdered. Media coverage states that the boyfriend killed her (brutally, I might add) when she disclosed her HIV-positive status after they had sex.
Here is what I find interesting:
First, for many media outlets, the narrative’s tone is shaped by interviews with Cicely’s partner, Larry Dunn, the man who stabbed her to death. In one article, Dunn states, “She killed me, so I killed her.” This narrative exacerbates stigma and is thus far not challenged in most media coverage.
Second, our natural inclination is to blame the victim. It is troubling to me that society does this, but even more troubling that we, as the HIV-positive community, do this. Some automatically say, “Well, she did have unprotected sex” as if we actually know that to be true. And even if it were true, it does not make the case that this young woman, in some way, deserved to be murdered, which is the implication.
I will go ahead and take the unpopular, but needed step to state that there are many – too many – HIV-positive women whose lives are endangered. Studies have shown that HIV-positive women experience a greater degree of violence upon disclosure than men. And yet, many HIV-specific programs, policies, decision-makers, and communities tend to generalize experiences of all people living with HIV and operate on an assumption that people have the same ability to negotiate safer sex or even have conversations around sex at all. Many women experience forced sex on a regular basis. One out of four women in the U.S. experience violence with an intimate partner at some point in their lives.
A clinical trial known as HPTN 052 revealed that if a person living with HIV is on treatment and has an undetectable viral load, there is less than a 4% chance of HIV transmission. This is groundbreaking information. It shows that if given comprehensive and accurate information on all treatment options and if ready to go on treatment, achieving an undetectable viral load is another way to improve one’s health as well as to protect one’s partner. It throws a twist in the disclosure debate. Is someone’s life worth a 4% risk? I already know the argument: any risk requires disclosure. However, this argument fails if you risk your safety by disclosing. Violence is a reality for many women.
What am I most frustrated about? On one HIV-specific community forum site, I am the only member who is talking about this. It makes me sad. Are we really that disconnected? Do we really think we are so different from Cicely Bolden?
She Didn’t Deserve To Die
By Precious Jackson
I’m saddened to hear about Cicely Bolden’s murder at the hand of her intimate partner when this did not need to happen. Bolden was a woman living with HIV, with two young children, who disclosed her status to her partner after they had sex. Maybe she didn’t feel comfortable enough to disclose her status earlier. Maybe she felt she would be stigmatized, judged, and/or looked upon as “damaged goods,” something I have heard many women living with HIV say they about themselves. Maybe Cicely and her partner had protected sex, which can significantly reduce HIV transmission. Maybe Cicely was on treatment with an undetectable viral load and knew that she was protecting her partner by taking care of herself. Maybe Cicely had bad experiences disclosing her status in the past and was still stigmatized.
I commend her for having the courage to disclose her status anyway because she didn’t have to. It is sad that thirty-one years into the HIV epidemic, stigma is the main contributing factor as to why people living with HIV are not comfortable in disclosing their status. A community’s lack of education and awareness about HIV and providers and health care systems that continue to stigmatize people living with HIV can cause HIV-positive people to live in fear and isolation.
This is why HIV prevention, care, and treatment education is so important. Understanding how HIV is transmitted and acquired could have prevented this murder and could help to prevent similar acts of violence in the future. If Mr. Dunn was educated about HIV he wouldn’t have made the comment, “She killed me, so I killed her.” There is no excuse for ignorance. Get educated about HIV. It can save your life!
I am writing you all from the safe confines of my home in Denver, CO. It’s taken me a few weeks to try to get into my own Colorado rhythm again, after being away and so busy for those 2 weeks in August.
A little about the journey….I arrived safely and had the opportunity to share a home-cooked meal and time with a dear friend of mine, who lives in DC.
I had a good night’s rest and I was off to the races very early the next morning!
I found my way around the DC Metro very well and was able to get to the DC Convention Center with no mishaps.
The DC Convention Center has got to be the largest indoor forum I have ever been in in my life!! It takes up at least 10 city blocks and the only way to get from one building to the next, is by walking. All who were gathered in DC for the International AIDS Conference, got their exercise in for 2 weeks, trust me!
The main session hall alone was the size of 3 football fields we were told, holding 7000 people! YIKES!
The 1st 5 days I spent as a volunteer for the conference. The first 3 days we gathered to assemble 30,000 delegate bags. Most of this work was on our feet, so needless to say, with the chronic problems I have with the nerve damage in my legs, this was not fun!
I had to find jobs that were conducive to me sitting and or being in one place.
Imagine this scene…I walk into the area where we gathered to begin the assembling, and I see mountains and mountains of boxes, filled with literature for the bags! Overwhelming, to say the least…!
The atmosphere was fairly jovial as people introduced themselves to one another and immediately began to converse and share stories as to what brought them to the IAC in DC. The 1st day alone, I met volunteers from 12 different countries
I was a bit overwhelmed by the enormity of it all but soon into the assembling of name badges, a dear friend of mine walked in and that really helped me to settle down quite a bit!
One of the lessons I learned while away that in this world of HIV advocacy, it truly is a small circle. Literally within the 1st 4 days, I saw soooo many people I knew from across the U.S. It truly felt like a GINORMOUS Family Reunion!
After the 3rd day, my duties switched and I became a badge-checker for 2 days. Again, I had the opportunity to meet and greet people from all over the world; name a country and they were there (yup even conservative and restrictive Middle Eastern and African countries had representatives there)!!
My legs began to bother me again as I was standing on my feet for hours at a time, but a friend recommended I buy some pressure hosiery that would help the blood to circulate in my legs, and so that helped immensely!
So I’m gonna name-drop a little here….I did have the opportunity to see Bill Gates, who came through one of the gates I was working, as well as the Mayor of DC. Bill was surrounded by body guards, but the Mayor was very kind and polite coming in.
I was a part of a Media Delegation with SisterLove, Inc, from Atlanta, GA. There were 12 of us altogether, and 6 of those women were from South Africa. It was so great being able to meet, connect and bond with them and have very engaging discussions about the things happening in the US, SA, and what the commonalities and differences are. It was an incredible experience, and I intend to stay connected to as many of these women as possible!
One of the things we were asked to do by the Executive Director of the organization was to focus on a particular track that we wanted to follow and I chose BioMedical Interventions and its effect on women living with HIV. That was very wise advice, because there were hundreds and hundreds of events, sessions, workshops and such, that occurred every day, and if one wasn’t particularly focused, one would have been paralyzed in fear because it all was so very overwhelming!!!
One of the other exciting ventures I took upon myself was to capture as much of the conference with pictures. I have posted many of the albums on facebook, but if anyone wants to see them, I can certainly treat you to a private viewing, as well as send you some.
I did take time off to play! The 2nd Tuesday I was there, I engaged in the “Women Making Waves” March, that ended at the White House. There were 5 arms of this march addressing 5 social justice issues. We all started in different directions of DC, and converged at the park across from the White House. It was pretty exciting to say the least, by being able to shut traffic down in the heart of Washington and I served as a Marshall for the people marching with us.
I also hung out with a dear friend of mine on Wednesday, and we went to the Washington Mall to view the AIDS quilt. It was the 1st time in 26 years that the entire quilt was displayed and it was very moving!!
We also visited the new MLKing Memorial, that is quite astounding as well! The temperatures were miserable hot, but we persevered and enjoyed one another’s company, especially since we only see one another every 2 years or so…
I had lunch with one of my dear mentors and it was so wonderful having her speak life and encouragement into the lives of the many women she has mentored and loved on for the last few years!
Many of us from the SisterLove delegation had an amazing African dinner together on the last official night of the conference! It was a great time of relaxing and celebrating our wonderful achievements and the food was beyond delicious!
I had an opportunity to spend Saturday, Sunday and Monday, in Virginia, with a dear friend of mine. She was so very kind and asked me what I wanted to do while I was there for that very brief time. I told her to rest and to get to the ocean. So, that Saturday, she drove me to the ocean, where I was able to dip my feet in the water, exhale and give thanks to an Amazing God for the great and marvelous things I was privileged to experience!!
On Wednesday, Sept. 12th, 2012, I co-presented with another organization about the issues that affect women in particular, that we gleaned from the conference. Thanks to all of you who showed up and participated in the educational forum.
Thanks so very much for the incredible love extended on my behalf! It truly was a life-changing experience I may never have an opportunity to repeat!
Go Well in God and God Richly Bless Each and Every One of You!
May you receive a thousandfold everything that you poured out for me!
Love and Blessings,