Thursday, October 31, 2013

Holiday Depression with HIV/AIDS what about a pet?

"We all know the holidays are a stressful time for people, but for people with mental illness, the stress can sometimes intensify their illness to the point of deteriorating their ability to function. However, an emotional support animal can help a person cope and keep them stable.

Emotional support animals are pets that provide therapeutic benefit to their owners through devotion, affection and companionship. Unlike other service animals, emotional support animals do not require training to carry out specific tasks, and require only the same amount of training as an ordinary house pet.

"Many people struggle due to trauma that triggered a psychological inability to function in day to day activities. Other people have biological-based psychiatric disorders that affect their ability to function. For all of the above, the company of a beloved pet serving as an emotional support animal can considerably diminish or eliminate their symptoms".

Whether it is disorders like Major Depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Agoraphobia, Panic Disorder, PTSD, Autism Spectrum Disorders or Schizophrenia, people who have psychiatric disabilities can benefit tremendously from having an emotional support animal present in their lives.

In order to have your pet become an emotional support animal, you need to get a letter from your physician or licensed mental health professional recommending the emotional support animal to help with your psychiatric disability, and the pet has to be able to get along with people without being a danger or nuisance.

"People get such tremendous benefit from their emotional support animals! Emotional support animals reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and even can return a person to a higher level of functioning."

I myself have anxiety, PTSD, HIV/AIDS, SEVERE DEPRESSION. I had to get an emotional support animal an when you live in HUD funded housing you do not have to pay a pet fee if you have doctors letter prescribing the animal as E.S.A.. My advice is if you are lonely with living with HIV/AIDS get you a pet to keep you calm. It works for me or I wouldn't be here still. TG

Monday, October 28, 2013

The way the real world of HIV WORKS.

People to make this page become what was envisioned for it we will need the publics support to help us grow because this page isn't about me or any one person its about allots of people needing a place to come to that they can trust and feel loved. I am not perfect but am trying to give back an help through this page. I have been fighting against hate elements in HIV ORG AND HIV ADVOCACY community... in the south have hardly had any support from orgs in ALABAMA MISSISSIPPI or LOUISIANA, TENNESSEE SOUTH CAROLINA AN BARELY NORTH CAROLINA AN ARKANSAS, i feel the ones that are working against the page is are in those HIV orgs. If things are not working in these states maybe its time you fired the people that are supposed to be working for you not for themselves. Working in nonprofit is supposed to be working from the heart not how much money you can make the money is supposed to be put into services an not how much you can travel and pay for your personal expenses or Salary. But i think something is very wrong with what's in place at the moment. And only way to get it fixed is ask questions. Who is it hurting you the person with HIV or them that's supposed to work for you? Well most times you the HIV client is told nope we don't have anything for you. Don't you think its time for a change because peoples lives are not a game piece on the board of life. We need more love in these HIV ORGS because i sure have seen allots of hate an infighting an bullies. And did you know the smaller HIV orgs in the southern states are afraid to speak against HIV DIRECTORS like the ones that work for ALABAMA HIV ORGS because they are afraid if they do speak up these FAT CATS will have their funding cut this is really true i could feel the fear from these small HIV Orgs they were truly afraid of this an those people in the southern states that do not like the people to speak up an its those people that have hurt the south an that hold back the progress of letting people take charge of their own communities instead of trying to create corporations to gain power. Another problem the BIG PHARM in Alabama has control of some of those HIV ORGS and they are their puppets to the governors ear. But i could go on about what I've seen an heard over the last few years on social media an HIV ADVOCATES . The machine is broken an LOVE an GOD is only thing with the help of the people that will heal the south an get help to the ones that are maybe your family members that are suffering . All this has come from others confiding in me. And that's why i am so angry. STOP THE BULLYS IN HIV SERVICES! TG


Saturday, October 26, 2013


WHO WILL SPEAK FOR THOSE THAT HAVE NOT YET FOUND THEIR VOICES IN THE DEEPSOUTH? SEEMS THEY ARE ALLOTS OF SNAKE SALESMEN THAT SPEAK WITH A FORKED TOUNGUE! Who will speak for the #POOR in the #DEEPSOUTH when you don't know who to trust when your #HIV an who has your best interests at heart an if your if your afraid to speak up then your part of the problem its time the people take back the south by letting their voices be heard if they feel something in HIV ORGANIZATIONS are not right like funding? If you listen an believe everything it will be like being hypnotized. Because from what I've been told everything is perfect. But they won't admit they've screwed up. An we are in the 1990's in the in HIV funding and services. tg

Friday, October 25, 2013

Community-level #HIV stigma is a public health threat

Community-level HIV stigma is a public health threat 
Deborah Konkle-Parker, PhD, FNP
 Community-level HIV stigma can have profound effects at both the individual and community levels. Stigma has an important effect on HIV prevention, testing, linkage/retention in care, and medication adherence.1-3  The World Health Organization cites “fear of stigma and discrimination as the main reason why people are reluctant to be tested, to disclose their HIV status or to take antiretroviral drugs.”4-6 HIV carries with it a unique stigma which forces people with HIV to keep their diagnosis a secret in fear of ostracism and discrimination.5-7 In this article, we will look at the need for stigma reduction on the community level and discuss potential strategies to reduce community- level stigma.
Setting of HIV disease in the Deep South  HIV disease is a multi-faceted problem impacted by many social determinants. As we are well aware, HIV is a major health problem in the Deep South and in the Jackson, Baton Rouge and New Orleans metropolitan areas in particular. The Deep South is heavily affected by many chronic diseases including HIV/AIDS.8 It is also heavily impacted by other sexually transmitted infections that propagate the HIV epidemic.9 Demographic factors that contribute to the increased disease rates include higher poverty rates, higher unemployment, lower educational attainment, and lower health insurance coverage compared to other Southern states and to the U.S. in general.3,10-13  Mississippi and Louisiana in particular experience significant health challenges with respect to chronic conditions.  Mississippi ranks first in mortality rates due to cardiovascular disease, 30% higher than the national average, and has the highest prevalence of diabetes and obesity in the nation.14 People living with HIV (PLWH) face even greater challenges, with Mississippi ranking seventh highest in HIV diagnosis and in rate of HIV-related deaths. Mississippi has the highest rate of deaths in the country amongst those living with HIV disease, with Louisiana second in line.15 Moreover, Baton Rouge ranks as the metropolitan area with the highest rate of new AIDS diagnoses in the country, while Jackson ranks third, and both are in the top five metropolitan areas in prevalence of HIV.16 Among males aged 13–24 years, the highest HIV prevalence rate was in Jackson in 2010.17 
Impact of HIV stigma  Mississippi’s health disparities in HIV infection are noticeable, as African Americans are disproportionally affected by HIV when compared to other races. African Americans account for 38% of the state’s population but over 78% of new HIV diagnoses. Incidence rates for African Americans are eight times those of whites. African Americans with HIV disease have the highest number of deaths each year, accounting for nearly 80% of deaths annually.16   Stigma associated with HIV/AIDS appears to be more prevalent among African Americans than other races.6 Stigma also has hindered efforts to reduce rates of HIV infection among African Americans and has been associated with HIV risk behaviors and barriers to testing, especially among gay and bisexual men.18  Local Mississippi research has shown that stigma is an important factor in medication adherence and adherence to clinical care, as well as initial linkage to care after diagnosis.19-21
Addressing stigma on an individual level is not sufficient  The US National HIV/AIDS Strategy consists of several goals: 1) to reduce the number of people who become infected with HIV; 2) to increase access to care and optimize health outcomes for people living with HIV; 3) to reduce HIV-related health disparities; and 4) to achieve a more coordinated national response to the HIV epidemic.  A pervasive community-level barrier to achievement of these goals is HIV stigma. Simply working with individuals living with HIV disease to help them cope with the community-level stigma they experience is insufficient to reduce the barriers that stigma creates. Although there are intrapersonal and interpersonal approaches that can be effective in improving an individual’s coping with the stigma associated with being a person living with HIV12, the barriers that stigma creates impact individuals well before they are diagnosed HIV- positive: a) by making them less willing to negotiate safer sex because they may be accused of suggesting that their partner may have this stigmatized illness; b) by being less willing to get tested for fear of who might find out that they even requested the test much less who might find out about an HIV-positive result; and c) by making it more difficult for individuals to accept their HIV diagnosis, which leads to denial and lack of linkage to care.  HIV stigma can arise from fear of transmission, homophobia, blame, and judgment regarding drug use and/or sexual behaviors.22,23 Limited research has been conducted in the Deep South to identify the issues that are the most salient in maintaining the current extent of HIV stigma in the community. In a 2006 study of a group of churches in South Carolina,24 Lindley et al demonstrated that parishioners in general had a higher level of HIV stigma than pastors or care team members, and that HIV knowledge was inversely proportionate to HIV stigma. 
Strategies to address community-level stigma have been tested  but more are needed  Strategies to reduce community-level stigma have seldom been studied, but there are reviews and small trials that provide guidance.25-28 According to Heijinders & van der Meij (2003), community-level strategies aim to increase knowledge about HIV and stigma, increase community development skills and develop support networks. The approaches used to address community-level stigma generally include education and contact with individuals living with HIV. In addition, groups have used advocacy to influence governments to change policies and discriminatory laws and to improve access to treatment and care, but their role in decreasing stigma is unknown.   The two community-level stigma reduction interventions found in the literature were not studied in the United States. Apinundecha et al, (2007)25 tested a community participation process to decrease HIV stigma in a village in Thailand. This intervention involved engagement of community leaders and resources, HIV education provided in the temples, involvement in activities to understand stigma and suffering from the point of view of the individual living with HIV, creation of a community learning center, and efforts to provide sustainability of the intervention resources. In China, Wu et al, (2007)28 tested an intervention to reduce stigma among healthcare providers, which is an important aspect of community stigma. The intervention involved 1) interactive sessions where service providers could explore their own attitudes; 2) focus on the right of equal healthcare access for everyone regardless of social status, type of disease, or infection route; 3) role-playing of discrimination from the viewpoint of the person living with HIV, family members, and providers; 4) a physician sharing his/her own experience of overcoming difficult situations in their daily medical practice; and 5) sharing informative HIV/AIDS materials.  A community-level intervention for changing attitudes and behaviors about HIV prevention that has been endorsed by the CDC, the Community PROMISE intervention (Peers Reaching Out and Modeling Intervention Strategies), involves the sharing of role model stories of individuals in their process of changing their own attitudes and behavior. Although this intervention was developed and tested for HIV preventive behaviors,29 this intervention could be adapted for use as a stigma-reduction intervention. D-up, Mpowerment, Popular Opinion Leader, and RAPP are other CDC-endorsed community- level interventions ( that use opinion leaders and peers to influence and change attitudes and behaviors. While these are not interventions that were designed to decrease community-level stigma, the underlying theoretical frameworks are consistent for attitudinal and behavioral change, though evaluation of the measures of change in stigma would be required to establish their efficacy.
Summary  While community-level stigma reduction may feel out of reach for intervention, the need is great and there are scattered reports of interventions that have been tested and proven to be effective. Because of the great impact a community-level change could have on prevention, testing, and treatment, this is an important area for us to consider.❖

Why Living a Life of Gratitude Can Make You Happy

Why Living a Life of Gratitude Can Make You Happy

“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” – Meister Eckhart

Post written by Leo Babauta.

Many days, I try to humble myself and hold a 2-minute gratitude session. I simply sit or kneel, with no distractions, close my eyes, and think about what I’m grateful for and who I’m grateful for.

I don’t do it e...very day, but let me tell you, on the days I do it, it makes me very happy.

Why should that be? Why should the simple act of thinking about who and what I’m grateful for make such a big difference in my life?

Just a few reasons:
•Because it reminds you of the positive things in your life. It makes you happy about the people in your life, whether they’re loved ones or just a stranger you met who was kind to you in some ways.
•Because it turns bad things into good things. Having problems at work? Be grateful you have work. Be grateful you have challenges, and that life isn’t boring. Be grateful that you can learn from these challenges. Be thankful they make you a stronger person.
•Because it reminds you of what’s important. It’s hard to complain about the little things when you give thanks that your children are alive and healthy. It’s hard to get stressed out over paying bills when you are grateful there is a roof over your head.
•Because it reminds you to thank others. I’ll talk about this more below, but the simple act of saying “thank you” to someone can make a big difference in that person’s life. Calling them, emailing them, stopping by to say thank you … just taking that minute out of your life to tell them why you are grateful toward them is important to them. People like being appreciated for who they are and what they do. It costs you little, but makes someone else happy. And making someone else happy will make you happy.

What do I give thanks for, privately, in my little gratitude session? It varies every day. I thank all the readers of this site, for the encouragement you have given me, for the donations you’ve made that have made me that much closer to realizing my dreams, for the criticism you’ve given that has made this site better … for the time you’ve given me, just reading the articles when you have the chance.

I thank my loved ones, for all they do to me. I thank strangers who’ve shown me little acts of kindness. I thank God, for the life he’s given me. I thank people around the world for the things they’ve done to make the world better. I thank myself, for things that I’ve done (it’s important to recognize your own accomplishments).

How to Live a Life of Gratitude
The thing is, simple acts of gratitude don’t cost you much (especially once you get over the initial discomfort some people feel with thanking others). But they can make a huge difference.

If you’re interested in living a life of gratitude, here are my suggestions:
•Morning gratitude session. Take 2-3 minutes each morning to give thanks, to whoever or whatever you’re grateful for. You don’t have to do anything, other than close your eyes and silently give thanks. This one act can make a huge difference.
•Say thank you. When someone does something nice for you, however small, try to remember to say thank you. And really mean it.
•Call to say thanks. Sometimes you might think about something nice that someone did for you. Perhaps you remember during your gratitude session. When you do, pick up the phone and call the person, just to say thanks. Let them know what they did that you’re grateful for, and why you appreciate it. Takes a minute or two. If it’s too early to call, make a note to call later. Even better is telling them in person, if you happen to see them or if they’re on your route. Almost as good is a thank-you email — keep it short and sweet.
•Give thanks for “negative” things in your life. There’s always two ways to look at something. Many times we think of something as negative — it’s stressful, harmful, sad, unfortunate, difficult. But that same thing can be looked at in a more positive way. Giving thanks for those things is a great way to remind yourself that there is good in just about everything. Problems can be seen as opportunities to grow, to be creative. See the prayer below for more on this.
•Learn a gratitude prayer. There are many prayers, religious or not, that can remind you to be grateful. Find one you like, and print it out or make it your desktop wallpaper. Here’s a religious one, and here’s a collection from a multitude of religions. You can find many others on the Internet, or write your own. If you’re not religious, make one that doesn’t include the concept of God


Be Thankful

Be Thankful

Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
Because it means you’ve made a difference.

It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.

GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessings.

~ Author Unknown ~

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Do-It-Yourself STD Tests

Do-it-yourself STD tests are currently available, and more of them are expected to hit the market soon. How do these products work, and what are the public health and bioethical issues surrounding them?

Sometimes you have to #IMAGINE ........#PEACE

Sometimes you have to #IMAGINE ........#PEACE

When I feel in pain or I feel really sad dealing with #HIV #STIGMA or when I look at this photo to me it looks like I have the whole world here with me through the eyes on the Peacock feather, ...if you look at the picture it seems people are all around looking down on me on earth, that if you keep you mind open look at the body of the male peacock and the colors an placement favor the EARTH. This may not be true in reality but everyone needs to believe or being to escape just for a moment of peace in the everyday fight with HIV. Don't you think so?


It has always bothered me when someone tells me that they are "clean" and do not HIV. I do not blame them for using that terminology, if you think about it, the saying has been around since the beginning. When you go to the doctor, it has always been a great thing to say "I got a clean bill of health". In the world of HIV though, when you add the stigma and the feelings of shame that usually accompany testing reactive it brings on a whole new meaning when someone says they are clean. To me, it feels that they are implying that I am dirty. This is all in our own perceptions of what we understand and they way we take things. I do not think in my heart of hearts, that any of my friends have ever meant any disrespect when they say they are clean. Even when testing people for HIV nowadays, you are instructed to use the terms, reactive and non-reactive. This just gets down again to education and letting the "non-reactive" world know what may bother us as being reactive. When it comes to your feelings and your health, whether physical or mental, it is of the utmost importance to inform and educate everyone you can, friends and family especially, on the ins and outs of HIV and the stigma that can surround it. Think back before you tested reactive, how much did you really know about the virus. I for one was not only naïve, okay borderline stupid, when it came to everything that surrounds HIV. I am well prepared today to handle most situations and stigma related issues because I have armed myself with the best arsenal I could ever have, education and openness. You have to keep in mind though, that everything that involves HIV changes not only on a daily basis, but sometimes hourly. So keep on learning so you can keep others informed. Have a great Wednesday, know you are loved! Love and peace,       

Michael V. Jones Pensacola, Florida

My #HIV Prevention Thoughts.

My Prevention Thoughts. #HIV TG
From what I've been reading too few of the population are educated enough about HIV PREVENTION an precautions. So to me an being a southerner I would guestimate that its even higher in rural areas that are DEEEEPSOUTH an too from what I've read #METH is very prevalent with this cause I remember growing up the 2 things on teens minds was #SEX #PARTYING an they go hand in hand and the teens are more worried about getting pregnant than #HIV. So my conclusion is we need them to see HIV NEWS everywhere, because if you can't  reach them in groups an meetings then plant the seed through #TELEVISION an on more gaming and dating websites maybe pop-up ads. But we need them to see #HIV PREVENTION ADS an average couple times a day. I think that's the real way to get them to pay attention. This was just an idea I had from all the stuff I've read an being from the south an being a REDNECK. Have open mind and tell me your thoughts?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Does your Partner #Abuse you?

Dating Abuse

In relationships, abuse is more widespread than you might think. One in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend. But it doesn’t have to be violence to be abuse. Using words to hurt someone is abuse too, and so is being pressured or forced into being physical and having sex. A lot of times, unhealthy dynamics are about power and control, and controlling behavior becomes abusive. It doesn’t have to be this way. In your relationship, you are in control of your choices, and you are in control of your body.  If the person you are with isn’t listening to you, won’t respect your boundaries, or doesn’t stop when you say stop, that’s a big red flag. It’s important to take those signs and behaviors seriously, because it can lead to serious problems.
These are excerpts from interviews with real people who experienced abusive relationships. Their names have been changed to protect them. If you, or anyone you know, is experiencing abuse of any kind talk to an adult you trust. You can also find help at the following hotlines. You are not alone. Love is Respect: National Dating Abuse Helpline
1-866-331-9474 | 1-866-331-8453 TTY
National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-SAFE (7233) | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
National Sexual Assault Hotline
1-800-656-HOPE (4673)

PART 2 OF Hello! My name is Zoey, I'm a 27 year old MtF translady #HIV #TRANSGENDER

(Continuing from last night, sorry for the wait!)

When I arrived, both my parents were awake, looks of deep concern across both their faces, which was more unexpected from my father than my mother. Mom followed me outside and I sat on our driveway, looking silently up at the stars, which were surprisingly bright that night.

Time passed, my mom silently waiting for me to tell her what had happene...d. I sighed and let it out. I had been diagnosed with HIV.

Those words, I think, are among the last things a mother could ever bear to hear their child say, right next to “I hate you.” and “I'm being sent to the front lines.”

Her jaw dropped, and she covered her mouth in horror. She just leaned over and hugged me. There's times where there isn't anything that can be said... I suppose that's one of them.

My father, ever the supportive one, didn't have the same sort of reaction.

“Son (twitch), I could have told you that this was going to happen to you. With the way you've been living-”

I think that was the first time in my life I told my father to shut up. I guess there was enough pain in my voice that, instead of an angry retort, he just went back into the house.

My mom and I continued gazing silently at the stars. Not a word was said, her holding my hand as we feared what lied ahead on my path. Eventually, I had to go, for there was something I had to do that I dreaded even more than telling my parents. I had to go and pick up my boyfriend from work, and I had to tell him everything, no matter how badly I feared the reaction.

I said goodbye to my mom, and as she watched me walk back to my car, her expression was one of fear. It was like she thought that she'd never see me again after that night.

As much as I hate to admit it, she was almost right.

The entire drive to go pick him up, I tried as hard as possible to relax, to put it all out of my mind and to be as calm as possible when I got there. As I pulled into the parking lot though, it all came right back. He came out and motioned me over to the door, and I tried to stifle my tears again. I failed miserably, but continued to walk to him.

Him: “Hey, honey, we were really slammed tonight, I'm sorry it's taking so long, would you mind if... if... Are you crying?”

Me: “No, no, it's just my allergies acting up.” (I'm not allergic to anything)

Him: “Honey, what's wrong?”

Me: “Nothing. Don't worry about it, just finish closing up and-”

His hands gripped my shoulders. I looked down. He pulled my chin up and looked me in the eyes.

Him: “I'm not going anywhere until you tell me what happened.”

Fear permeated everything. I knew he would reject me. I thought of leaving him everything I own, of taking just my motorcycle, my handgun and the money in my bank account, and just riding away, either until I ran out of gas, broke down or reached the Pacific Ocean. And then shooting myself wherever I ended up.

Looking back, I wasn't thinking clearly, but that was literally the plan. I knew it had to have happened by someone that I met before he and I were dating, because he had been tested again just before we met. I was certain he was going to reject me.

“I... just tested positive for HIV.”

His jaw dropped. His eyes went wide. He said “One minute.” and ran back into the store. I collapsed. I knew this was it. The door opened again and he shut it behind him.

Then he picked me up off the ground, and he hugged me tight. He said the words that I didn't think were possible. “I love you. This doesn't change a thing.”

The rest of the night was a blur. We picked up buffalo wings and fries for dinner and broke out the vodka. Then we had sex (the last thing I expected, but I wasn't about to turn him down) and went to bed, drunk enough, stuffed enough and satiated enough to not feel the crushing weight of my new life sentence over my head.

Over the next few months, I told everyone else I had ever been involved with. Rumors spread online through a social network and the associated community I am a part of, apparently reaching as far out as Australia. I owned up to them all, even the ones that hurt the most. I even made a few friends for the effort, some of whom have been endlessly supportive, in ways I'll never be able to properly thank them for.

I lived in near constant depression for about four months. My boyfriend wondered if he would ever see me smile again for the most of it. But then, one day, I remembered that I had a life to carry on with, and I was certainly not the only one to have to walk this road ever.

I had looked at this as a personal tragedy for so long, that I had forgotten that it isn't personal at all. It's something that many suffer, exactly the same way that I do.

So, I got back to living, as all of us have to after any life-altering event. I've continued on with my transition, and I've been happier than I've ever been before. HIV, as much of a black mark on the single page of my life as it is, is merely a footnote in my story. No matter what the future brings me, I'm confident enough to say that I'm going to be alright, just like all the rest of us suffering with HIV. It's a curse, and one that I'd not wish on my worst enemy, but it's just another thing I have to deal with. Transitioning is actually much more of a fight for me than living with HIV, so letting things get me down isn't really something I can do.

I'm sure that, by now most of the wonderful people following this page already know this, but you're never alone in this. Never feel afraid to reach out to someone when you're hurting, because silence is as much of a problem in this battle as the continued prevalence of unsafe, unprotected sex in the LGBT community and beyond.

Thank you for your time. I look forward to making many more posts and hearing from all of you lovely people in the future!

Be safe, all~!

~ Zoey Reynard

Hello! My name is Zoey, I'm a 27 year old MtF translady #HIV #TRANSGENDER

Hello! My name is Zoey, I'm a 27 year old MtF translady, and I've been transitioning for the past 3 years now. As of next month, it will have been 2 years since seroconversion.

I just became part of the group, and I wanted to start with sharing my story. It's a little bit lengthy, so I'll post the first part of it now and the rest tomorrow, if nobody minds.

It's February 2012. I was still getting used to being somewhat stigmatized over being openly transgender, at the time. The reactive test was honestly the last thing I was expecting to get, having gone in before to be tested, and getting so used to always being cleared.

Looking back at it, the night I tested positive was almost Hollywood surreal. I was joking and laughing with the guy administering the test for the entire 20 minutes it took to register a result. Then suddenly, his expression darkens and he tells me that he needs to run another test strip.

Me: *still smiling and laughing a little, joking about breaking a pen while filling in my information* “Aw, what's wrong? Did I break that too?”

Test guy: “Well... No.”

Me: *smile fades into a really nervous grin* “Uhhh... You're scaring me.”

Test guy: “I'm not trying to scare you, but... this strip seems a little foggy, but it looks slightly red. There's a chance that you may be positive, I want to take another one to be sure.”

Me: *blindsided* “Uhh... sure...”

The next 20 minutes were the stillest, quietest minutes of my life. You could hear the guy's tiny desk clock ticking loudly in the silence. That might have just been my heart pounding out of my chest though. I couldn't think, I couldn't speak, and I barely breathed. The only things I knew about HIV came from my laughably inadequate understanding brought to me by the people that used to come talk to us when I was in school. At that point, nobody had formally talked to me about HIV since 7th grade, back in 1999. They used to talk to us like it was literally the Boogeyman. If you were careless and didn't do everything right, it was going to get you. And suddenly, here it was, breathing down my neck.

I watched him check his watch, and then my adrenaline spiked, not unlike the way it does when you're bracing for impact when your car's brakes are at full lock and you're hurtling towards an impending collision.

He checked the strip against the desk light. Then he set it down and clasped his hands together.

“Your tests came out reactive. It's highly likely that you are HIV positive.”


He was still talking, but I couldn't hear him. Something about help being available and there being ways to... something. His words fell away into the ether. All I could hear was a dull ringing, kind of like those scenes in the movies when a bomb goes off, and though the hero didn't die in the impact, they're terribly wounded and their hearing is gone.

He continued on, and my brain kept reeling. This has to be a mistake, right? No. Not this time, kid.

Then the dam broke. I started crying, and I couldn't stop. He needed me to take another test, this time a scrape of my inner cheek. The time was 7:32PM when zero hour hit, and it was just shy of 8pm when I was finally able to stand up again to leave. Tears stained my cheeks, and I tried to get past the lobby as fast as I could. My face told the whole story as I left the exam room. And there were more than a few people still waiting to get in there to get tested that night.

I held it together as I got in my car, and I silently started it to drive to my folks' place. I promised myself that I wouldn't break down sobbing when I called my mom to tell her I was coming by, but I failed miserably at that. The rest of the drive after that was silent. The music I played lingered on the radio, Dear Agony by Breaking Benjamin a grimly fitting thing for my phone to shuffle to as my old car trudged down I-4.

~ I'll post the rest tomorrow so I'm not putting a full novel up at once. x3 Thanks for reading!

~ Zoey Reynard

Sunday, October 20, 2013



1. “Don’t worry, I’m clean.” 73.7%
2. “You’re so sexy—I can’t wait. Let’s just do it.” 73.2%
3. “It’ll feel so much better without.” 50.3%
4. “Can I not wear a condom?” 40%
5. “What, you don’t trust me?” 34%

What lines have you heard as an excuse not to use a condom?
People would like to know!

Not being able to live with HIV in my own state of Alabama feels like a soldier without a country.

Not being able to live with HIV in my own state of Alabama feels like a soldier without a country.

I read were ALABAMA is the worst state to be living with HIV in, I don't know what that means but I did read that somewhere. I had to move t...o ATLANTA to get decent services isn't that pretty bad you have to move to get HIV SERVICES an I still don't feel its changed enough for me to move back to ALABAMA. I wonder whose at fault for how Alabama services? Can you imagine if the ones who know they are HIV have trouble there wonder how bad it could be for those on the outer edges of HIV SERVICES regions? My mom lives near Anniston AL an the clinic in Anniston better than the 1917 clinic even in 1998 DR HANNA was said to be the best kept secret in the south on HIV CARE. But DR. HANNA is human she ages just like the rest of us an she has seen many pass from HIV in her are of the state. See many I met with HIV back then had moved away to the big cities were they got HIV they then got sick an came home to die with AIDS an Dr Hanna was most the time their DOC. because most couldn't afford to run to Birmingham when they needed treatment. An I still hear people living with HIV have to travel 100 or more miles across different parts of Alabama to reach HIV CARE. I had seen many HIV doctor's over the years all over the south but Dr Hanna helped me more than anyone had ever. Doctor Hanna was with me the day my tcells dropped to AIDS definition and she was with me when I cried over hearing the news because back then there wasn't to many meds to choose from an the ones she chose was 3TC an zerit . Which I ended up being resistant to few years later. I can say if DR Hanna retires it will be a big loss in rural Alabama . An I want to say thank you DR Hanna for your being there for me. But I still wonder why Alabama is so far behind? Will I ever be able to live near my mom an not worry about living with HIV in Alabama an getting better services? These are questions am sure many have thought just as I have an we all want to know why? Whose to blame? Or what's to blame? The work hard with very little so if you feel the need to help please donate to this center to help those in rural ALABAMA HIV .

P.S. I lost my HIV MEDS virginity at this clinic because I am living with HIV which I tested in first group in Alabama that tested HIV+ an hadn't taken HIV meds until 1997-8 because I had treated myself naturally all those years with natural therapies. So this DR. an this clinic play a part in my history of living 30- or more yrs with HIV in Alabama.



Tell the truth! You are not having the best day today! What are you complaining about while others don't have access to #HIV medicines because of #ADAP Waiting list. Bitching gets the crap out of your system I want to know what's your GRIPE with #HIV or services today! Stop being a wuss an don't worry what others will think its your life your health here in the DEEP SOUTH with HIV ...So lets start the bitching and releasing of those gripes. Let it OUT!

TG'S GRIPE: Know one says you have to be perfect living with #HIV because HIV can bring some pretty bad crap on an you don't always feel like the BELL of the ball an sometime the toilet becomes your intimate partner. So there is no one certain way to live or act with #HIV an if someone says your not supposed to talk about it....tellem to kiss you buns, cause they isn't walking in your piss on them an their perfection. An that's my BITCHING today!


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Check out "Howl-O-Scream 2013 • A Pub Crawl to Benefit AIDS Action Coalition"


Friday, October 18, 2013

We need to change behaviors to End #HIV

"Even with the game changing strides made in AIDS treatment as a means of preventing HIV, we cannot end the epidemic without equally powerful breakthroughs in HIV behavioral prevention for people heavily affected by HIV like gay and bisexual men,"

First Couples HIV Prevention Strategy for Gay Men

First Couples HIV Prevention Strategy for Gay Men to Roll Out in Major Cities Throughout the United States

Emory University's "Testing Together" Program to Expand Nationwide by Yearend, Made Possible Through Seed Funding From the M.A.C AIDS Fund; Program Aims to Reduce High Rate of New HIV Infections Among Gay Men in Relationships, a Formerly Overlooked Group

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Oct 17, 2013) - Today, Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health announced that it is transitioning management of a valuable, new HIV training program to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Brought to life with funding from the M.A.C AIDS Fund and modeled after a successful HIV testing program in Africa, the training prepares local HIV/AIDS organizations and health departments to deliver the first-ever couples HIV testing and counseling service in the United States for gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men. The new service -- called "Testing Together" -- enables male couples to learn their HIV status together and develop a customized HIV prevention and care strategy at no charge in most locations. After the transition, CDC will roll out the training -- which has been successfully piloted in several major U.S. cities -- to organizations across the country.
"Most HIV prevention programs focus on individuals or groups of gay men when, in fact, most new HIV infections come from main partners in a relationship. Our 'Testing Together' program is the first HIV testing service geared specifically toward meeting the needs of male couples," said Patrick Sullivan, DVM, PhD and Professor at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health. "We're happy that our collaboration with CDC is bringing this program to more HIV organizations in major cities throughout the nation. Bringing this service to scale for male couples was made possible by the generous support of the M.A.C AIDS Fund."
In 2009, Sullivan and his colleagues at CDC conducted research that estimated one-to two-thirds of new HIV infections came from main partners among gay couples. Follow-up research, supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and conducted by Emory University, found that a significant number of men in longer-term relationships were unaware of their partner's HIV status. In fact, many gay men in relationships believed that they were less at risk for HIV and were therefore less likely to have been recently tested for HIV. NIH-supported research showed that providing HIV testing for male couples was promising, but bringing this new service to men beyond the initial study in Atlanta would be a challenge.
To encourage awareness and combat a growing rate of new HIV infections among gay men in the United States, Emory engaged the M.A.C AIDS Fund in March 2011 to provide startup funding to pilot the innovative "Testing Together" program in Atlanta, Chicago, Boston, San Diego and Seattle. Designed to prevent new infections and improve linkage to care, the program trains HIV community-support organizations in testing and counseling skills specifically for gay couples, including ways to cope with an HIV-positive status, maintain safer behaviors between partners and help navigate treatment when one or both partners is found to be HIV-positive.
"Even with the game changing strides made in AIDS treatment as a means of preventing HIV, we cannot end the epidemic without equally powerful breakthroughs in HIV behavioral prevention for people heavily affected by HIV like gay and bisexual men," said Nancy Mahon, global executive director of the M.A.C AIDS Fund. "For this reason, the M.A.C AIDS Fund will continue to invest in innovative and effective initiatives like Emory's 'Testing Together' program, and we are so gratified that the CDC will be bringing this program to scale to reach more people nationwide."
Following Emory's successful pilot program, CDC became interested in taking over the "Testing Together" program and expanding training for additional, major cities with high HIV prevalence in the United States. Emory University remains engaged in supporting training and technical assistance through its collaboration with CDC. To date, more than 300 HIV counselors have been trained at 73 testing sites in 21 cities, and more than 450 gay couples have learned their HIV status together. As a result, more than 8 percent of men tested were HIV-positive with at least 10 percent in previously undiagnosed discordant relationships where one partner is HIV positive and the other is not.
As a result of the multi-sectoral collaboration between Emory, M.A.C AIDS Fund and CDC, "Testing Together" will be rolling out in major cities in the U.S. to bring the first HIV testing service to male couples. In preparation for the transition, CDC has initiated partnerships with more than 18 key cities to date and will continue to build capacity at health departments and with the nation's public health workforce to implement this training. In the future, "Testing Together" will be adapted for use with other types of couples as well. To learn more, visit the new Couples HIV Testing and Counseling section on the CDC's Effective Interventions website or find a testing and counseling center offering couples testing at
ABOUT TESTING TOGETHER"Testing Together" is the first-ever HIV testing and counseling service for male couples in the United States. Designed to prevent new infections and improve linkage to care, the program was developed by Patrick Sullivan, DVM, PhD and Professor at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health, and Rob Stephenson, MSc, PhD, Associate Professor at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health, and funded by the M.A.C AIDS Fund. Testing Together was adapted from CDC's Couples HIV Testing and Counseling training curriculum, which is used to train HIV testing providers internationally, primarily those who work with heterosexual couples. CDC is taking over Emory University's "Testing Together" program and will be expanding it in major cities nationwide for couples of all types with ongoing support from Emory and the M.A.C AIDS Fund. For more information, please visit or

National Latino AIDS Awareness Day!

Today I celebrate National Latino AIDS Awareness Day! I am hosting it in my front yard in tent to raise awareness and stop traffic! I had to change the venue because of the "stigma in the Latino Community. Sadly we have not come as far a we would like to believe! Cultural Competency is a tool we must use to address every people. The fear of being tested is bad enough, but the fear of others... knowing can be devastating! Please do not judge others based on our strengths and experiences. Some of us feel safe because of our spirituality or family support. Others are not so blessed. I am so blessed to live in a world where I can give as much of myself as I choose and feel fulfilled.
Hoping today will go well as I spend the day addressing the needs others rather than focusing on myself! I truly understand the need of every community to protect their privacy, but HIV is real and invades in the light of day, as well as in the dark of night!
Please get tested, get test results, get treatment if positive. Life is still worth living. I know, I am thriving, living, loving, teaching, and moving forward eleven years later!
Take care,
Dr. Joyce Turner Keller
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Interview with Cathy Woolard: Atlanta remains 'ground zero' for HIV infection in the US - See more at:!

The acting head of AID Atlanta on this weekend's AIDS Walk, the search for a director, and how the Affordable Care Act affects those with HIV/AIDS - See more at:!

Before she steps down as Interim Executive Director of AID Atlanta, Cathy Woolard is determined to achieve two goals—recruit a CEO with a clear vision for the future, and ensure this Sunday’s AIDS Walk meets its million-dollar fundraising target. Woolard, former president of the Atlanta City Council, has helmed AID Atlanta for nine months, spending much of that time charting a course through the murky waters of the Affordable Care Act. While the ACA is, itself, a boon for AIDS patients—you can’t be ruled out for a pre-existing condition and there are no maximum expenditures—many questions remain. “Because the governor hasn’t elected to expand Medicaid, people will fall through the gaps,” Woolard says. “How this will play out over the next year will be interesting to watch.” The search for a new CEO is already underway and Woolard says she expects her replacement to be in place by year’s end, though if the search takes longer she will stay on. As for the qualifications needed to run the organization in a city she calls “ground zero for HIV infection in America,” Woolard wants someone who understands the medical model of HIV/AIDS treatment, and who has the strategic vision to find and fund health care for those who need it most. Though AID Atlanta has witnessed vast changes in the treatment, diagnosis, and demographics of HIV/AIDS, Woolard says the most important factor has, stubbornly, remained constant. “The sad truth is the rate of infection has not changed much.” Woolard and more than 10,000 others will take part this Sunday in AID Atlanta’s twenty-third annual AIDS Walk &5K Run. Registration is still open for both individual participants and teams. “This money really helps,” Woolard says. “Especially with sequestration and the government shutdown.” For added incentive, the 5K is an official qualifier for the Peachtree Road Race. So, with cool temperatures in the forecast, runners stand a real chance of posting a low enough time to place in an early grouping and avoid the annual July 4 logjam. - See more at:!

Don't let them look you to DEATH #HIV!

HIV a Southern Epidemic

Did you know when people look at me an see that in my face and the way my body is shaped that I have AIDS or something else. I can't let those people and the gay men that are judgmental against my looks stop me from living because even when i was to die these people will keep on living an if you feel like your giving up, DON'T! You have to squeeze into you a spot in the rat race an keep on surviving. I myself want to say goodbye everyday because I don't know why I am still here. I started this page thinking it will be for a good cause an it is an it will do good. But i am having to fight against those that should be supportive. But back to living, If you see someone that looks like the life force has gone out? Maybe you just need to help them relight it an this works most the time an sometimes they are far to gone, but you know what in the last 12 yrs. in Atlanta have come across several HIV people that I with Gods help get those couple persons life force back an they now live with hope. You have to make contact with others To make a difference. Start a Buddy system for people that need that reenergizing an help to be social again. It only takes someone caring to save another's life. TG

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

#Recipe To Care For Someone With #HIV/AIDS

#Recipe To Care For Someone With #HIV/AIDS

3 cups of patience
5 pounds of compassion
7 packets of gentleness ...
3 bottles of kindness
5 jars of humor
7 packets of smiles
3 bottles of calmness
3 pounds of humility
5 bottles of mercy
7 jars of peace
3 cups of sensitivity
5 packets of joy
7 pounds of forgiveness
3 bottles of knowledge about the HIV/AIDS Virus
Gallons of love and gallons of prayer
Take knowledge, humility and sensitivity and mix well.
Stir in kindness, forgiveness and patience, very slowly.
Whip in gentleness, calmness and joy. Blend with mercy, peace
and compassion. Then add smiles and humor whenever needed.
Pour in as much love as possible, taste the care then add toppings
of prayer and serve as desired to anyone with HIV/AIDS.

Cedil C. Booker :

Monday, October 14, 2013

Stop Violence Against Women Every.

HIV a Southern Epidemic
The women in the South were beaten an Abused.
I remember every weekend my step dad got paid I knew it was going to be a wild weekend an in back of my mind I knew what was coming. In the southern rural areas in the south most all there was to do was party an sit around work in the gardens or work on someone's car under a tree. An us kids thought it was just awesome that we got to hang around an watch. But as the day got longer so did the booze ..most the times in Alabama it was white lightening pure alcohol from a bootleggers still. So the evening got darker we would be told to go to bed mamma or one of my aunts or cousins husband already had started slapping their women. An they would make an excuse for them. We would be laying in bed all night shaking under cover at the wonder when was all hell going to break loose because in the south if it didn't happen someone must've died in the family. If these women didn't die an after they had been beaten an raped repeatedly they would finely leave with no were to go or hide because the kids were used as pawns by the redneck DADS, UNCLES, GRANDDADS an COUSINS to get them to come back an the women would I've in for the kids sake. So this is similar to what happens today but its more in the public eye and the drug of choice is cocaine, Crack, or METH. An instead of just being beaten an raped an killed they women have to worry about #STD'S like #HIV/HEPC etc. Lets please try to help women an partners to love their beings enough to never let the violence start. Because OCTOBER is National VIOLENCE AGAINST AWARENESS MONTH.     By TG GREEN a self story

Friday, October 11, 2013

2013 Anti inflammatory Smoothie Recipe


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Daily Meditations For All Of Us Living With AIDS

THE COLOR OF LIGHT The Color of Light: Daily Meditations For All Of Us Living With Aids (Hazelden Meditation Series) ~
Daily Meditations For All Of Us Living With AIDS


Death is not the enemy; living in constant fear of it is.
~ Norman Cousins

  An irony about AIDS is that if we want to go on living, we need to think about our dying.  It would seem like the last thing we would want to do; it would seem like we would want to keep all thoughts of death away from us.  But until we make peace with our dying, we aren't free to go on living.
  The point is not to accept that we could die from this, or a lot of other things, and to bring up our feelings about that.
  Fear of death is the ultimate shadow, but it is only a shadow.  Like all shadows, fear of death disappears when we shine the light of our attention on it.  We may be able to do this on our own, or we may want some help.  However we do it, the wonderful result is that when we lose our fear of dying, living is more fun.
Today I will face any remaining fear of death that I may have and I will let it go.  When I am not afraid to die, I am free to live fearlessly.



In the beginning I was flooded with hugs, but as time washed by I would be sitting in the boat an I would see a hug flow by...I tried to reach it.. but only my finger tips brushed the edge.. It was a special hug,, a healing hug.. which I had heard ..may could make me feel better,, an i needed to feel I say to myself.. don't give up ..there is another one coming this way... someone that has an extra.. will share here on the page... this day! TG GREEN

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Hello Everyone,
    Since I have moved back to Missouri I've been trying to keep my mind busy.  Paul and I work together on our hobbies. It helps me to work my mind and my hands. We have much in common and our lives have kind of paralleled each other. It makes easier for us to live together. He is my best friend and I am very happy to have him back in my life. Our sleeping habits are horrible.  Three hours here and there, sometimes four. We are usually up at 2 a.m. having a nerf war. When I first got here I was still in the wheelchair full time. He cooks, cleans, and shops for us. At first he would have to help me take a bath. Paul has watched me succeed in progressing from wheelchair to walker to cane. Now I can take a bath alone, cook sometimes, and help clean. When I take a shower I have to wait until he can watch out for me because I am still not that sturdy on my feet. It helps a lot that he is there for me physically and mentally. No two people with this disease have the same issues or symptoms. Paul is having a hard time understanding my insecurities about the way I look and move and talk. This causes most of our fights. He wants to go do things and wants me to go along. I start freaking out about my hair, face, and body. Then of course there is the fact that for me to go out I have to go in the wheelchair. All of this has finally caused a big rift between us. My depression has gotten more intense. I am at the point that nothing is helping out of this mood. Everyday has become a battle within to find a purpose to go on....

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Naked Truth: Having "The Talk" with Your Parents About Safe Sex

Poem about HIV/AIDS written by South African children

Why me?
Hospitals and clinics,
Are full of people
Affected by HIV/AIDS
Doctor and nurse are
Trying to save each soul
Everyone is opening mortuary business
Of a day
Home spaces are being decreased
Grave yard increasing
We as a nation must stand and fight the virus
We are all infected and affected by HIV/AIDS
Grade 6B
Primary school KaNyamazane, South Africa

Expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act Medicaid Expansion Fact Sheet: Mississippi

As Mississippi weighs the costs and benefits of expanding Medicaid eligibility under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), elected officials will consider its implications not only for individual and public health, but also state fiscal stability. The following provides an overview of issues that Mississippi should consider in its decision making process. More detailed information is available at health.htm.
Chronic Disease – Newly eligible beneficiaries will have access to free preventive services, increasing the likelihood that residents get regular testing that prevents onset of many costly diseases as well as reduces the severity of prognoses for those that enroll in early treatment.
Infectious Disease – Expanded access to care reduces the spread of disease by providing a cure or reducing infectiousness (e.g., continuous and comprehensive treatment of HIV not only improves the health of the individual, but also reduces the likelihood of transmitting the virus by 96%).1 More than 9,000 Mississippians are living with HIV, and at least 50% are not connected to any treatment. Expanding Medicaid to cover individuals living below 133% FPL would significantly alleviate the state’s HIV epidemic.
Hospital Solvency – Nationwide expansion of Medicaid eligibility was presumed by the ACA, which incrementally reduces federal payments to hospitals to offset the cost of uncompensated care. If Mississippi does not expand Medicaid, hospitals will face severe deficits and be forced to close or pass costs onto consumers of private health insurance, inflating premiums.
Federal Funding – Federal dollars will pay for 90-100% of the cost of covering newly eligibles across the nation, making Mississippi one of the biggest potential beneficiaries of the funds associated with the expansion (20% of Mississippians are uninsured). Increased federal funding contributes to the economy – creating jobs and spurring consumer spending. Moreover, if Mississippi does not expand Medicaid, Mississippians will ultimately subsidize  the cost of coverage in states that do, via federal taxation.
Net Savings – Mississippi’s spending on newly eligibles will be offset by the savings realized in reduced spending  on uncompensated care. In the first five years of expanding Medicaid, Mississippi would realize net savings of over $230 million.

HIV can Affect #Christmas too!

Did you know in the DEEPSOUTH there is a funding shortage for those living with HIV?
Many are scrambling just to cover medicine co-pays cost of living, Nutrition, "Dental, an Mental Health" which allots of times is on sliding scale payments. School for their children to trying to take care of a parent an worry about living with HIV/AIDS! We in the southern states don't always have luxuries of getting the government to pay for Housekeepers etc.. We have to pay more out've pocket than other areas of the country because the funding is at an imbalance. But the one thing we do try to give our families is the memory of what Christmas is in south. So what I've been leading up to is to please don't let this year be the year Santa didn't visit! Make donations to your local HIV/AIDS organizations with gift certificates or sponsor a family through your church. But please. Start getting your donations ready! Its getting to look like its almost Christmas. If you have questions please leave a comment someone will answer your questions to the best of our ability!  THANK YOU 

Journey poz 2 poz 2013

What would you like congress to know about the impact of HIV/AIDS and Viral Hepatitis among in the US South?

Dear Friends and Colleagues!
We've been invited to speak on The Impact of HIV/AIDS and Viral Hepatitis Among Hispanics in the US South and Puerto Rico at the annual congressional briefing, October 11th, in recognition of National Latino AIDS Awareness Day.  Our hosts are Rep. David Price (D-NC) and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) in cooperation with the HIV/AIDS Caucus.
We'd like your help to prepare!  What would you like congress to know about the impact of HIV/AIDS and Viral Hepatitis among in the US South?  You're an expert in your community and we want your thoughts to be heard on Capital Hill, please reply with a message you'd like us to share during the congressional briefing. 
The Latino Commission on AIDS would like to thank our co-sponsors for standing with us on National Latino AIDS Awareness Day to make HIV/AIDS and Viral Hepatitis Among Hispanics in the US South and Puerto Rico a topic of discussion on Capital Hill.  Unidos Podemos (United we Can)! If you'd like to join us in Washington, DC on Friday, October 11 please  RSVP with John Hellman at 646.375.4415 or
Program Director
Director of Community Organizating
We commit to speak ...we are Latin@s in the Deep South!