This post is made possible by support from the Let’s Stop HIV Together campaign. All opinions are my own.
While many of us celebrated Mother’s Day this past Sunday, I took a moment to think about two extraordinary women I was recently introduced to. Last week, I got a chance to talk to Masonia and Michelle, two women and mothers living with HIV. Though their story of how they became affected was different, they both knew they were in for the fight of their life.
Masonia was like many of us, trusted her partner and got tested frequently but still contracted the disease from her partner. She found out about her status at the same time she found out she was pregnant. Instead of having a pity party she sprang into action to make sure here child wasn’t born with the disease. Michelle contracted the disease from an abusive boyfriend she was with, she later escaped and that’s when she found out about her diagnosis. Her daughter was born with HIV and they have been advocates every since. Motherhood in itself is already hard but imagine raising children while dealing with HIV. While we know so much more about the disease, yet people living with HIV still face many trials and hardships. While, I’ve dealt with my own health issues, I don’t know how I would make it. These women have shown courage in the face of danger and I admire both of them.
Check out their stories below…
Here’s Masonia’s Story
Here’s Michelle’s Story
Perhaps the most profound lesson I took away from both of these ladies was a lesson of strength, courage and determination. A mother’s job doesn’t stop after being diagnosed with HIV. These women had to pull themselves up by their boot straps and find a way to keep pushing forward and for that I’m very proud of them. I have quite a few friends living with HIV, and the way they have become an advocate for the disease makes me proud. They didn’t take their diagnosis lying down but instead turned it into an opportunity to educate and support others. One thing we need to be very clear about is that HIV doesn’t have a look or type, everyone is susceptible to this disease! Chances are you may already know someone who has HIV and don’t even know it, so it’s your responsibility to protect yourself.
Lets stop the stigma, over 1 million people live with this disease; we’ve got understand this can happen to anyone. I always say “today it’s them, tomorrow it could be you”… We must learn the facts and fight against this horrible disease! And for those of you who have already been affected by this disease, you’ve got to stand up and fight for your life! Life is short, so don’t let your diagnosis take over your life, sometimes talking to someone is all you need. I’ve found in life when we help others we often help ourselves, living with HIV is no longer a death sentence. #StopHIVTogether
To get more information about HIV, go to the Center Disease Control and Prevention. If we work together, we can truly stop HIV together.