by Akiba Solomon
A milelong to-do list doesn’t stop Joyce Turner-Keller from taking good care of her body, mind and spirit
Joyce Turner-Keller was in her early fifties when HIV entered her vocabulary. “It was a foreign word before I was diagnosed in 2001,” admits the activist and minister. “I thought AIDS was only in the gay white community.”
Turner-Keller was diagnosed six years after a stranger posing as a cop raped her. She didn’t report the rape to authorities but did tell her then doctor who failed to screen her for HIV. A severe staph infection finally prompted a test.
Today Turner-Keller, 57, runs Aspirations, a Baton Rouge, Louisiana, AIDS service organization she started in 2002. “I stay busy. I write grants, find resources for people, make speeches,” says the divorced mother of three. “By the time I think about myself, it’s time to take a bath and go to bed.”
Despite her demanding job, Turner-Keller prioritizes wellness. “I take my meds, see my doctor, eat right, exercise and relax in my rocking chair,” she says. “Plus, I think I’m cute. Self-love goes a long way toward keeping me healthy.”