December – AIDS Awareness Month

world aids day 2012_logo2In 2001, I was diagnosed with HIV which I contracted from my ex-husband who knowingly infected me. I was devastated as well as shocked! I knew HIV was not a death sentence but, I sure did not know how I was going to cope after getting this unexpected diagnosis. Well, I did more than cope, I actually took a stand on HIV by becoming an educator and activist in my community.

No it was not very easy being transparent and allowing others into my personal space but, then I began to realize that it is not about me and there are many others who need to be empowered by someone else’s experience. In 2004, I made the decision to speak out publicly and educate others on prevention of HIV/AIDS and other STDs as well as, how to live healthy productive and fulfilled lives despite adversities.

My desire is to help others understand the importance of avoiding risky behaviors that would result in an HIV positive diagnosis. My goal as an activist is to press the importance of knowing your status by getting tested, empower those who have received a positive diagnosis to love yourself and know that you are not alone, help others get connected with those who are a good support system, and influence communities to get educated to become more aware of prevention measures to avoid a diagnosis of HIV. There are many websites and organizations that provide resources, educational information, and even support. I have listed a few websites below as well as information on how to contact myself. Be encouraged and know that you are never alone.

Alicia HealedLee Diggs