Women & AIDS: An Inside Look

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March 07 2013

Did you know that women account for 50% of the population infected with HIV worldwide?

March 10th, National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, is a day of particular importance to us at AIDS Research Alliance as we strive to shed more light on the changing face of HIV/AIDS, and the fact that women are increasingly at risk.

In the last year, we have published the stories of two women who are HIV positive – “Susan” and Vicky Johnson.

There are many, many more women infected and affected by the disease. Michelle Anderson, Ms. Plus America 2011, “is the first openly HIV-positive woman to ever run for, and win, a national pageant title.”  In a poetic piece she published on A Girl Like Me, a website for and by HIV-positive women, she writes how self-esteem issues, in part, led to her infection.

My Reflection, by Michelle Anderson
[first posted on A Girl Like Me]:

Michelle - then & now

When I look in the mirror, I hate everything about you. You are fat and ugly! You’ve got pimples all over your face and your teeth are crooked. Nobody is going to want you. Ha-ha! They’re talking about you. See them pointing and laughing at you? You don’t fit in. You are dumb. You’re never gonna be nothing!

I have sex with you… I don’t want to. Do I have to prove my love for you?

I took a drink…. OK! This makes me feel better! I’m the life of the party!

I took a hit of cocaine….Wow! Now I can forget the loneliness.

They rape me… Get off of me! I’m tainted and dirty.

Attempts at suicide… The world would be better off without me.

I’m standing on the corner with no place to go… Sir, you need some company? It’s cold out here…

God! Why did you let this happen to me?

He stabs me in the chest…..This is what I deserve!

HIV…No one wants me!

Those lies almost killed me. How did they start?

The day I looked in the mirror and believed what others said about me. My own perception of who I was had already been altered at the age of 5 by sexual abuse. As I grew older, those lies became my truths, my reality. It took me years to realize the love and acceptance I was searching for started with me loving on me!

Imagine where I would be if those words were positive and uplifting. Words are powerful and we don’t always know the mindset of the individual in which we speak them to. Do not choose your words litely. It could be a matter of life or death for someone who standing at a cliff ready to jump off!

Peace and love,


Low self-esteem is just one of the factors that may put a girl or woman at higher risk of contracting HIV. As we cover Women & AIDS, we will focus on the issues at the heart of this disease for women – the issues that make women more susceptible.

Please email if you have a story to share or an issue you want covered in this series.

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