Help spread the word! Increasing awareness is vital -- according to the CDC, if infection rates continue, the number of women with HIV may soon outnumber the number of men. And women of color are affected at higher rates. There are many inspiring stories of survival, but there is also a dire need for more help for women affected by HIV and AIDS, and for more widespread testing to help prevention.
This might be a spoiler, because I'll be reading this poem at tonight's event, but here's a sneak peak at one of many...
every tale begins in a woman’s blood
the only difference is this one’s honest about it.
it’s blood that binds them, mother and daughter,
and it’s blood that brings them together
in a brick building where bodies at work
wear all white, as if they’re angels of life
and not predictors of death.
there is no cure, they say,
only a lifetime of pills.
they say there is no healing,
but she the mother has told her daughter
there’s no such thing as only surviving
there ain’t no living this way without
pushing for each pump of your heart
and there ain’t no dying
until the day you’re ready to be dead.
her daughter believes her
if only because she’s seen her mother living
and where you might have seen dying
in her eyes she saw fighting.
she’s never known skin that wasn’t holding on
creating earth toned caves for those
precious bones it carries
or muscles that didn’t flex as they weakened
so even when they rest in troubled waters,
they never sink to depths unseen.
of course there are times when
mother and daughter wish
they were bound by more than tainted blood
days they grow tired, feeling
as if they’ve fought long enough
now to bloom into a new body.
there’s no body but their own
and they don’t dare ask for more
from a world offering a little less each day.
and today, as they sit waiting for a doctor to say
that they need thicker blood
that they need more t-cells
that they’ll be swallowing more pills
each of them asks for just one thing:
she the mother, for her daughter’s hand,
smooth as the first day it reached out to her,
and she the daughter, for her mother’s voice,
saying just about anything,
as long as it’s honest about it.
Maisha Z. Johnson