I was utterly shocked, mad, and stunned! Surprised that I let this happen, Mad at myself and stunned to the point of disbelief. I drove to my close friend’s house and told her. she was shocked but supportive.
I first became interested in HIV criminalization laws while attending a United States Conference on Aids in 2010. I attended a session given by a lawyer from the Center for HIV Law and policy out of New York.
Ohio’s Olga Irwin cannot remember the exact day she was diagnosed, but it was late November in 1999 and at the time, she was told she had only about three months to live. Because she was shocked and believed the prognosis, Irwin initially refused treatment.
My name is Naimah O’Neal and I have been living with HIV since 1992. Twenty-seven years! Sometimes, I still find it hard to believe. If someone had asked me twenty-seven years ago if I could foresee being the woman I am today, I would have said no way. Today, as a woman of color, I use my voice to bring a face to this virus.
For most Ohioans, the HIV epidemic may feel like history, a problem that affected other people years ago and one that has pretty much gone away. But the reality is that about 25,000 Ohioans still live with HIV. In fact, I’m one.
Testing positive for HIV in the 1980s was a death sentence for nearly everyone. Most people died within two years of diagnosis. I was diagnosed in 1986 and lived. I endured dangerous early treatments, such as AZT, and survived to benefit from hard-won medical breakthroughs that have transformed HIV from a terminal illness into a chronic condition.
For Francesca Schuman a brutal rape after performing as a drag queen left her infected with HIV. However, she has not let that stop her from letting others know about the prevalence, stigma and cost of the disease.