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National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2010 (March 10)

March 5, 2010
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Not only is it important for girls and women living with HIV to feel accepted, it is important to raise awareness to girls and women to the chances of them being infected with HIV. This blog helps us express ourselves and the issues we deal with on a daily basis. I feel it is also important to try to get the message that this isn’t just a gay or drug addict’s disease. This is an equal opportunity disease.

I have never done drugs in my life and I am not a gay man. I have, however, had more than one sexual partner.  When I was 16 years old the worst thing I thought I could get was pregnant. So I drove myself down to the clinic and was put on birth control. I was a responsible teenager; at least that is what I thought. In 1986 I had never heard of AIDS or HIV. Why would I think I would be at risk?

That is the same year I met my husband. Five years later as the doctor explained that we weren’t at risk but we had it anyway, it didn’t matter that I didn’t fit into their risk group, I was HIV positive anyway.

This all could have been avoided if I knew then what I know now. HIV can be passed by anyone, black, white, brown, man, woman, child, gay straight, popular or not. You don’t have to be a crack addict either. You could be me, a 39 year old soccer mom from Southern California. I surfed in the summer and skied in the winter. I loved to play sports and was well liked in high school. Now I live with the stigma of HIV/AIDS.

I have been shunned by family members and friends. Because of that I avoid telling my new friends. I am ashamed of the disease I have. Just to think, what my outcome would have been if the clinic would have told me I was at risk.

Jae

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