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National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

March 8, 2010

On March 10th, those of us in the USA will observe National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.  As a women living with AIDS, I experience a variety of emotions around “awareness days” like this.  First, I’m glad we have our own day – it reminds me that I’m not alone and that the impact on women and girls is important enough for us to make a special day for the rest of society to take notice. 

On the other hand, that leaves a whole lot more days in the year that the issues I care a great deal about don’t make it to the main stage.  Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate being prompted to comment (as I sometimes think we forget to do!) as an HIV+ woman.  But perhaps more importantly, I’m commenting as a mother of two girls for whom I fight the spread of this disease every day.  I’m also commenting as a wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend, and, of course, as a woman. WE (in my house we refer to that as the “royal WE”…it means everybody) must change the way women (all women – all of our sisters, daughters, mothers, and friends) view our health, our bodies, and our risk for HIV infection. 

HIV belongs to us, ladies.  It belongs to us because it affects us all.  Jae  (one of our bloggers) wrote this week about not knowing she was at risk for HIV infection.  Jae is not alone.  There are literally millions of women around the world who are HIV+ right now – and most of them never knew or thought it could happen to them (to us).   If you look at the home page of The Well Project website you will see our counter ticking away.  It is counting the number of women infected with HIV since we launched the site.  It is our reminder that HIV must be a part of our daily conversations, our education systems, our health care provider trainings, our women’s health messages – HIV must be talked about EVERYDAY, not just on special awareness days. 

And, for those of us who can, HIV+ women must speak out and speak up to change the way the world perceives this disease.  You and I can actually save lives.  Every day. So, today, tomorrow, this week, this month, even this year – I challenge you to save lives.  Save lives with your story, your voice, your experiences, your passion, your knowledge – your willingness to make HIV something to talk about, everyday.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Acintia permalink
    March 8, 2010 1:28 pm

    Dawn I am going to share this story with so many of the women here in San Diego who are ashamed to relate themselves to the stigma of being HIV+ We as women must learn to stand together to remove this stigma so that we may hold each other up in Victory not at a funeral…I am inspired by your courage and strength to speak out for those who are not able to carry the torch!!!

  2. March 16, 2010 6:19 am

    I tested positive 3rd march 2010 just a month to my wedding. My fiance tested negative,am confused and destroyed.I’m 34 yrs,I have no child and this is what is killing me Not able to have kids of my own. secondly the fact of knowing that im going to die makes me worth less and with out hope. i dont know how to break the news to my family more so when they eargerly waiting for the wedding which may not take place because my fiance is quiet and not talking a bout it.I,m confused at the moment that any time he will walk a way from me. I’ve read your account over and over to derive courage to face the would of H.I.V positve life but its not easy for me now.But thank you for your motivating and inspiring article i wish i was living in the same area would love to meet you and share your experience and have many questions to ask you about life with H.I V. I,m in uganda and base in Kampala city. May Jehovah bless you for your courage and strength.

    • lili permalink
      May 18, 2010 7:10 am

      Having lived positively for the last seven years, I now know better that through PMTCT you can have your own healthy kids and that testing positive does not equal to death.

      Learning that you are HIV+ is a hard thing,no matter by which means you get to know.Try to accept the situation ,choose life and live healthy,join a support group in your neighbourhood,seek and share information ,it makes all the difference. Life must go on, no matter what.

  3. Jae001 permalink
    March 19, 2010 12:43 am

    I am sorry you are having to deal with this so close to your wedding. Death is inevitable, we all are going to die. We are human. We live and we die. It’s how we live that defines us. Find your strength. Hold on to it for dear life. Don’t give up. You have so much to offer. This isn’t a death sentence this is a character revealer. This is a path changing experiance. So get educated and fight for change.

  4. ESTHER permalink
    May 3, 2010 9:36 am

    am 25 and iwas tested positive help mi

  5. May 12, 2010 10:15 am


    Don ‘t panic you are not alone. Now you need to focus on the next step. Get your CD4 count start ARVs when is needed and look foward ,if studying carry on, when u are ready to have partner tell him to get tested first, disclose your status and make sure you are using protection. With your doctor you can be able to get children. Lastely marriage is for nagative and positive people. Where there is love anything can happen

  6. zanele sibiya permalink
    May 31, 2010 8:57 am

    I tested January 2010 result were positive did my cd4 count which was to low 99% but I will fight my life to health not to the grave because it was not my choice .I am still young 28 have a 10 year daughter and I have dreams and goals so the positive attitude is a mother of all success all I need is a support group I live in Durban South Africa

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