Naimah O'Neal
Naimah O’Neal
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Positive since 1992

I am a mother of two adult children and a grandmother of two girls. I have been living with HIV since 1992. I live in Cleveland, Ohio. I got HIV from my husband who died in 2005. I feel that being positive has been a blessing because once I became infected, I found my voice. I am an HIV advocate, speaker and a member of various HIV groups, including two national groups.

In 2008, I went back to school and became a social worker and obtained my bachelor’s of arts degree and became a licensed social worker. In 2012, I returned to school and got my master’s degree in social work.

I currently work for an HIV/AIDS service organization assisting clients living with HIV/AIDS navigate their life. I found my voice after my 1992 diagnosis and keeping trying to reach for the stars.

What is your greatest achievement?
Having my children. And being a social worker and sharing my status to help other men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS without others and without a voice

What is your greatest regret?
Not sure because I know that everything happens for a reason

What keeps you up at night?
The thought of women who are living in shame and fear of someone finding out about their status

What is the best advice you ever received?
Never stop reaching for the stars. Dream and live life and never have regrets

What person in the HIV/AIDS community do you most admire?
Every person who is not ashamed to live with HIV and who give their voice to people who can’t speak out for themselves

What drives you to do what you do?
Being my brother’s keeper drives me to do what I do.

What is your motto?
Everyday that you open your eyes is a chance to serve in God’s name. I want to be a light.

If you had to evacuate your house immediately, what is the one thing you would grab on the way out?
My grandchildren

If you could be any animal, what would you be?
A eagle