ALICIA KEYS: I’m Alicia Keys. And I am passionate about ending AIDS. I sat down to talk to five amazing women who are HIV-positive. They are confronting the stigma of HIV head on. Together, we want to change the way you think about HIV. And let me tell you, these women are empowered.
KYM: I was infected with HIV within my marriage. I said ‘how long have you known?’ And he said, I don’t know, Kym. Over ten years.
JENNIFER: Oh no.
KYM: Why, why haven’t we talked about this? Why didn’t I know?
EVA: Anything negative as a woman you can think of, I was dealing with it. Depression, low self esteem, on my own, taking care of a child at the time
CRISTINA: So one day I said, ‘Mom, what’s wrong with me.’ She broke down that my dad and her had tested HIV positive in ‘86. And my mom breastfed me – she didn’t know.
STEPH: And I’m really beating myself up, because I felt like, I’m a straight A student, I just started college. I’m the only girl in the family. I’m smarter than this. How in the hell did I just let this happen to me?
JEN: And pretty much everyone who ends up HIV positive says ‘I didn’t think it could happen to me,’ and then it happened to me.
AK: What does it mean to be Empowered?
STEPHANIE: It’s that word, freedom.
EVA: I get my empowerment from breaking barriers that other people said couldn’t be broken.
STEPHANIE: Where you can share your status and have nothing to hide.
KYM: I’m not okay with stigma for another 30 years.
KYM: I have things to do!
EVA: Just gotta knock it out the box…
STEPHANIE: It was no way I was going to let this take me out. It was just like you either take flight, or you reach the light.
AK: Hear my conversation with five unbelievably inspiring women living with HIV at greaterthan.org/empowered. I’m Alicia Keys and I am empowered.