World AIDS Day: Read Positive Women

HIV/AIDS educator Wendy Alexis Modeste

So just a quick few scans from this book to commemorate or celebrate or stand in solidarity with all those who live with HIV/AIDS or are close to someone affected by it: Positive Women: Voices of Women Living With AIDS was released in 1993, and was the first collection to feature women from around the world discussing living with AIDS.

The first excerpt is by a woman who was the first woman in Germany to test HIV positive without being an injection drug user. In her poetry, she mourns the loss of her lover. Her steadfast love and respect for him is surprising, certainly, and her poetic response to the sense of abandonment is stunning and tender at the same time. Check it out here.

The second excerpt is by Wendi Alexis Modeste, who up until her passing away in 1994, was an outspoken AIDS/HIV educator in New York State. Here she talks about her time growing up, her faith, and her drive to raise awareness in others.

Third is the personal account of Kecia Larkin, a woman from Alert Bay who spent time as a sex worker on the streets of Vancouver, where she contracted AIDS. She also reached a point of honesty, speaking at a time when living HIV/AIDS was too taboo to discuss openly. Check out this courageous act of outspokenness here.

Last excerpt is the history of HIV/AIDS in Zambia, according to Rosemary Mulenga, a former school teacher who became an AIDS educator once she found out that she had been infected with the virus. The speech printed here was given at the opening of the international AIDS conference in Paris, 1990.

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I should also mention the excellent campaign by AIDS Action Now who have put their “poster virus” around the streets of Toronto recently, in protest of the Canadian government’s rather lousy ‘tough-on-crime’ Bill C-10. AAN had a launch at the AGO last night and you can still see their posters on display at this site.

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