Women United Against HIV
In “Leading Ladies” (March 2010), AIDS advocates Dawn Averitt Bridge and Mary Fisher discussed women’s particular vulnerability to HIV.

It’s great to hear from Dawn, whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting here in LA on several occasions, and Mary Fisher. It’s great to see how well they are doing—it’s been so long since we’ve heard from them. Dawn’s babies are now children, and Mary is a powerful, strong, beautiful woman leading the way with grace and dignity as we are fortunate to actually be “aging with HIV.” Who would have believed we would all still be here! Thank you so very much for living with HIV out loud!

Sherri Lewis

I too found out I was positive in 1991, with four small boys and no partner to help with them. I did fall down that shaft, and I am still there. My meds are working, and I have a good doctor—but absolutely no support. No family who understands, no support groups anywhere near here. I’m alone and still scared. Maybe I would start a program to educate, if I weren’t afraid to speak to crowds. My kids are grown, and I thank God for that. Physically, I’m pretty good, but mentally I am not.

Name Withheld
City Withheld

I’m an educator for HIV prevention and a social marketer, and this story touched me. Overcoming all the stigma and prejudice associated with HIV/AIDS takes courage.

George Maris
Charlottesville, VA

Speak Courage
In “Wonder Women” (March 2010), seven HIV-positive women shared their experiences with HIV and how they remain empowered and inspired.

These articles regarding women are insightful. I work in a medical office, and HIV stigma among the staff when a patient comes in is, in my opinion, Neanderthal. For this reason, I have pursued the topic and reached out to resources such as POZ to better understand patients’ experiences and how they might feel in society. I have a newfound passion for caring and helping those affected, and I feel that the subject of HIV/AIDS is still very  taboo in our society or at least where I live in Florida.

Cocoa Beach, FL

Thank you so much for opening your heart and sharing. You have touched so many people’s hearts. I believe anybody who reads this will want to know his or her HIV status. I am also living with HIV, and this is really encouraging. God bless you as you keep helping others.

Kauthar Bitok
Eldoret, Kenya

You have inspired us and others who don’t know about HIV/AIDS. It is time people come out and talk about it in our Muslim community. It’s still a problem.

Saum Hassan
Nairobi, Kenya

Flashes of Relief
Suzanne Bopp’s “Go With the Flow” (March 2010) discussed how HIV affects menstruation and menopause in women living with the virus.

Being positive for almost half my life and never experiencing menopause before, I had nothing to compare it to. I was glad the night sweats were menopause and not HIV related. I guess if I can survive HIV, then menopause for me is just another challenge among many life seems to come with! Keep your heads up—and your fans nearby, my sistas!!!

Buffalo, NY