I have been HIV positive for more than 25 years. I’m the mom of one son, who is HIV negative. I was one of the first women in a controlled study of the use of antiretrovirals in pregnant women living with HIV. It was during a time when there was much stigma to have a baby if you were HIV positive.

Today, I’m a widow and a survivor. My passion is writing and trying to cook. I’m a fun, spirited woman who is healthy and on the go. I have HIV, but it no longer has me.

What three adjectives best describe you?

God-fearing, strong and loyal.

What is your greatest achievement?

My greatest achievement is the birth of my HIV negative son in 1995.

What is your greatest regret?

I guess I would have to say I regret wasting time emotionally over a situation I could not change.

What keeps you up at night?

What has been keeping me up at night lately is the writing of my book. I give my cares to the Lord at night.

If you could change one thing about living with HIV, what would it be?

Implementing refresher courses on empathy for medical personnel and those working in medical offices. Some people still have preconceived ideas of the lifestyles of those who contract HIV.

What drives you to do what you do?

God. I’ve been tried and tested many times, but still, I’m alive. The power behind me is greater than the task before me. I found the strength to live in Christ.

What is your motto?

Try to be a blessing to someone on purpose today.

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

My photos and then my cat.

If you could be any animal, what would you be? And why?

I would be a butterfly. They go through a complete transformation and have a purpose. They are gentle and free. They dance when they fly, and each has its own beauty.