CDC: Venita’s Story, Let’s Stop HIV Together CampaignOn February 3, 2020 by Raul Dinwiddie
VENITA: I was diagnosed with HIV
April 2, 2003 — a date you never forget. It was part
of a routine physical. I hadn’t had an HIV test
in a while, so I asked the doctor to just —
“Why don’t we do an HIV test?” Finally, probably
about a week or so later, I get a call from my doctor and telling me that I need
to come into the office to discuss my test results. And I said,
“Which test results?” And she said, “Well, I’d
rather talk to you in person.” And I said —
And I knew instantly. I said, “Was it the HIV test?” and she had to answer,
so she said yes. I moved here to Houston
to be near my sister and my daughter who were here ’cause I thought
if I’m gonna die, I’d rather at least be
with people I love. Slowly I began
to just go through the motions of trying to move on
before I felt like I could, and it’s taken 4 years. FAITH:
I love my sister. She’s more than just my sister.
She raised me. So to see her down and depressed
like that was the most — I went through a depression because there was nothing
I could do to help her. VENITA: Just hold on. Be gentle with yourself because you’ve got to go through
the feelings of it. Everybody wants you
to just feel better instantly, and it just doesn’t work
that way, but I do believe that you got to
find somebody you can talk to. FAITH: Just love them.
Be there. Hold their hand.
Go to the doctor with them. Just be there,
whatever they need, you know. Just like my sister had to go through four years
of depression, I was there, you know, and now the sun is out again,
and I’m still here. VENITA: One of the things
I’ve discovered, too, I know for myself, is stigma
is as bad as the disease. This idea
that it’s those people. It’s always somebody else.
Well, it isn’t. It’s really your next-door
neighbor, your doctor, your lawyer, your minister,
you know. And, really,
if there’s a campaign that’s aimed at making folks
aware of that — I mean, until we stop being
“those people,” the stigma doesn’t go away. BOTH:
Let’s stop HIV together. VENITA: Get the facts.
Get tested. Get involved.