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New blog post by Tiffany in “Voices from our Allies”

March 14, 2012

Tiffany posts a new blog in our “Voices from our Allies” section: “The Headline Reads

The headline reads, “HIV Among Black Women 5 times Higher than Previously Thought” It was some of the biggest news in HIV last week. And I’m still not sure how to take it. Yay, I’m excited that I have data to support what I’ve known all along. Information from a study conducted in six US cities with incidence rates among Black women that rival those of sub-Saharan nations. Now the scary part…how will people use this data to push an agenda that could be contrary to good public health policy and initiatives? Does it resonate with young women I see on the streets going on about their daily lives whether it be at school, work, church, or the kitchen table? Does this story resonate with the same women who tell me why they don’t use condoms or need to get tested? Will the worried well be the only ones to hear and see the headline? Will conspiracy theorists come out of the woodwork espousing rhetoric that make it easy to discount and not heed the alarm bell ringing in my head?

The headline read, “… Among Black Women 5 times Higher.” Not 5 times Higher pay. Not 5 times higher to be in a monogamous relationship. Not 5 times higher to feel safe within their community. It read, “… than Previously Thought.” You know previous thoughts can be dangerous depending on who’s doing the thinking. Previous thoughts had us believing that we weren’t at risk. Previous thoughts had us believing that it was a gay disease. Previous thoughts equate risk with title and pedigree. Previous thoughts had us accepting that Black women were not a priority in the epidemic (financially or otherwise). Previous thoughts had tried and true interventions thrown by the way side for cookie cutter models that never work in practice the way they did in theory.

The headline reads, “HIV Among Black Women 5 times Higher than Previously Thought.” I look forward to it reading “HIV Cure, Black Women First to See the Results.”

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Dianne permalink
    March 14, 2012 6:47 pm

    I am in Australia as a positive (newly diagnosed woman) I was told when in hospital and after brain surgery I have been living with HIV for at least 9-10 years and although I had been fighting a pcp four months earlier and going from doctor to doctor no one once thought I had HIV. Why because I am a White, educated mother of four, the doctors told me over and over again no one would think you would be infected with HIV and therefore that is why doctors never thought to put two and two together and test you for HIV!!! In Australia it seems unless you are gay or of a social group you are not at risk even with health professionals!!! My heart goes out as the information on the situation with African American women in USA, the stats are shocking women need to be informed and the Alarm Bell needs to be rang loud and clear. I believe in Australia the women being diagnosed is about to blow out as many women believe they are in long term relationships therefore they are safe, in fact I was told not to talk to anyone by health professionals about my diagnosis, how are we going to educate women how are we going to challenge stigma and ingnorance if we keep silent? How do we campaign to women to protect themselves if the health system is failing?

    • Tiffany permalink
      March 15, 2012 11:46 am

      Diane:
      Thank you so much for reading my blog. What you described is by far the most frustrating thing to me. Never asking a woman whether or not they would like a test? Or assuming they don’t need a test because of the perception of low-risk because of race or marital status or some other factor. Are there some people who probably come in contact with the virus with more frequency than others? Sure. But not challenging the stigma, keeping silent, not prioritizing women’s health of any race or creed puts our futures at risk. You are an inspiration to me by sharing your story.
      -Tiffany

  2. Silindile permalink
    March 15, 2012 4:54 am

    Hi Dianne – Im so realived to hear that someone out there shares the same sentiments as I do imagine if you had not gone for you brain surgery you would be a walking ticking time bomb, I have been living positively for 4 years and was diagnosed when I went to give birth to my last born and the doctor was just doing routine check ups and my tests came back positive I took my results and was like a robot for that whole week before my baby would come and what is amazing is that I made that judgement call to take Nevaripine before giving birth and a little voice inside me said what good is one pill going to make 8 hours before my son could come into this world and my maternal instinct kicked in I took it and today my son is HIV Negative, full of life and the father I left him I sure hope he is 6 feet underground because on some days I try and think when exactly did he infect me but im glad my kids are not affected by me being blinded by love .

  3. silly1 permalink
    March 15, 2012 1:10 pm

    I think we should be focusing more on neighborhoods and engaging community leaders in those neighborhoods in HIV prevention.

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