Today is #NationalHIVTestingDay so we wanted to see if you guys remembered HIV activist #HydeiaBroadbent. Back in 1996, she appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show at just 12 years old and shared her story about being born HIV positive. Now at 34 years old, Hydeia tells us about what she’s been up to ever since her episode aired.
“I appeared on Oprah over 20 years ago so I’ve definitely lived a full life since then. A lot of advocacy work, personal growth and struggles just trying to figure things out since being a child star.” As a child, Hydeia was the face of a non-profit. She didn’t own it, but it was named after her and ran by other individuals outside of herself and her adoptive mother. In her late teens, she finally parted ways with the organization after not being impressed with how the organization was ran.
“I didn’t like how things were operating. I was not included in decision making and felt I was shut out. It was almost as if they wanted me to stay in a child’s place, but yeah I was too strong and aware to just be told to show up and speak.”
Now, Hydeia is still advocating for HIV/AIDS awareness and is working on a show about people living with HIV today. “I’m currently working on developing my own show around individuals living with HIV. There’s still a lot of misconception, stigma and misinformation about HIV,” she said. “At this point in my life I’m just over the ignorance and all of the misconception. I’m going to live my life unapologetically and boldly. If that means dating, flirting or anything else that makes uneducated people feel uncomfortable then that is no longer my problem.”
The reason why Hydeia is so empowered on her journey now is because she battled with depression a few years ago as she tried to figure out life and her purpose while being here. Now she is ready to merge her journey with mental health and HIV in order to have discussions about how to cope.
“It is important that as we talk about HIV and AIDS awareness in the 21st Century activists must have serious conversations about how mental health plays a role,” Broadbent tells Eurweb. “I know that addressing my mental health was a key to my return to normalcy.”
Hydeia tells us, “This year is the year of taking control of my life and getting things in order.”
Check out Hydeia’s Oprah interview below:
Here are a few important facts about HIV:
•Testing yourself for HIV is important for your health, your relationships, your life and your future.
•The growth of new infections continues to pose serious health risks. According to the CDC, today in the U.S. 1.2MM people are infected with HIV. 20% of those infected are unaware of their HIV status. Those undiagnosed 20% are responsible for up to 70% of the new infections each year in the United States.
•The fact is that HIV is preventable, and you can reduce or eliminate your risk. And early detection can lead to early treatment and better outcomes. Many people live long, normal lives with early detection and proper care, because the advancements in HIV options have been significant. This was taken from OraQuick
•There is no risk of passing on HIV if your doctor has confirmed that you are undetectable (or virally suppressed), you continue taking your treatment and attend regular viral load monitoring appointments.
•Treatment with HIV medicines (called antiretroviral therapy or ART) is recommended for everyone who has HIV. In general, recommendations on the use of HIV medicines are the same for men and women.
•Women with HIV take HIV medicines during pregnancy and childbirth to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV and to protect their own health.
TSR STAFF: Talia O. @theclosetratchet on IG