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Update from Vickie L (lovinglife)

May 11, 2012

It has been quite a while since I have written and for that I must apologize. I love reading everyone’s post but sometimes do not have the time to keep up with myself.

I have been working with Dr. M (my boss) at the University of South Florida on a research project that tests the feasibility of delivering a behavioral health intervention for women living with HIV via a video phone. The experience has been incredible and very rewarding. We are almost done with the actual deliver of the intervention – we have been doing this for the past 15 months. We will now begin looking at the data in hopes that we can write an additional grant and offer this wonderful opportunity to more women. I personally do not have to look at the numbers to know this is of great benefit and value to all women living with HIV everywhere. It gives women an opportunity to identify and talk with other women dealing with similar issues. Of course, we all know data and scientific findings are necessary in order to get more funding.

During the past year I have also applied for and been accepted to the doctoral program at the University of South Florida, College of Public Health, Community and Family, Behavioral Health Program. My research objective includes exploring the use of evidence-based interventions in community settings and how these interventions can be developed to be delivered via new technology: cell phones, internet, computer-based, and video-conferencing to improve the lives of women living with HIV/AIDS.

From homelessness 15 years ago to where I am today is beyond words. I cannot tell you the joy my life now offers me! I am so very grateful everyday just to be alive!

Needless to say, I have had a wonderful year and am going to continue this trend by attending the International AIDS Conference in D.C. this summer. I start my PhD classes the end of August so this will be the perfect time for me to “get away”.

As many of you know The International AIDS Conference will be in the United States for the first time in 22 years due to President Obama lifting the “HIV travel ban” which prevented people living with HIV to travel into the United States. This means a great deal to me since I have been living with HIV for the past 27 years. I cannot wait!

My application to volunteer with the Conference has been accepted and I have the opportunity to work closely with researchers and professionals who work with issues related to HIV/AIDS. This is a once in a life time opportunity for me to network with others who are also interested in improving the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS. Over 25,000 people from around the world are expected to participate in conference activities.

I know at times this might be an overwhelming emotional experience. HIV often leaves us feeling isolated and alone and afraid to talk to others about our status and what we go through on a daily basis. Being in a city with thousands of other people who are also dealing with the same issues will be amazing!

I am very excited!!!

I was struggling regarding how I was going to pay for my travel and accommodations while in D.C but of course, my prayers have been answered and some of my friends have donated enough money to pay my travel costs and a couple of nights in a hotel, and to my delight I will also be staying at the Bed and Breakfast with “A Girl Like Me” (sponsored by the Well Project). This will give me an opportunity to meet others who blog and to meet the wonderful people behind the scenes who make all this possible.

When I return from the conference I will share what I learned with my community and other professionals. I plan to write a blog about my experience, take lots of pictures, and using the knowledge I gain to continue my education.

Did I mention how excited I am!

-Vickie L. (Lovinglife)

  1. Deline permalink
    May 12, 2012 2:35 pm

    Wow! While reading ur post, I had this big grin on my face and didn’t even notice, until I was asked, what r u smiling about? I am excited for you. Have lots of fun there as well, will wait for da conference info! Represented.((( Hugs))).

  2. June 5, 2012 10:20 pm

    have a wonderful time and speak about food based nutrition! There’s just not enough said about optimum nutrition and healthy lifestyle changes for the best outcomes.

  3. mumbaiyyagal permalink
    June 21, 2012 3:26 am

    Hello Vickie,

    Now things are going great for you….do continue to do good, learn more, give more and remain positive. We need more women like you to make a change….to make even a small difference….which can lead to a HUGE impact in the society.

    Much love n hugs…..

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