Breast cancer survivor Mechelle Williams discusses her journey after being diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc., there are three types of receptors that stimulate breast cancer growth. These receptor types are estrogen, progesterone and HER-2. When an individual test negative for the aforementioned receptor types, this means that the common forms of treatment, such as drugs or hormone therapy, will be unsuccessful in the attempt to treat and eliminate triple negative breast cancer. However, chemotherapy has been used as an option to confront and tackle this form of cancer.
Williams discusses the first signs that alerted her that something was wrong and the steps she decided to take after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She bares her initial fears and concerns after receiving her biopsy results and talks about her ability to find beauty through chemotherapy.
Today, African Americans lead in HIV/AIDS rates and statistics but only make up 13.1% of the US population. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a 2010 New HIV Infections report showed that African Americans accounted for an estimated 44% of all new HIV infections, despite representing only 12% of the US population at that time. In 2010, there were an estimated 10,600 new HIV infections among African American gay and bisexual men. Gay and bisexual men represent approximately 2% of the US population, but accounted for three-fourths of all estimated new HIV infections annually from 2008 to 2010.
Khafre K. Abif has been living with HIV for 25 years. After his diagnosis in 1991, he became an advocate for HIV/AIDS awareness and has spent his life educating people about HIV/AIDS.
Timothy Daniels has been living with HIV for more than 28 years. Daniels was diagnosed with HIV at the age of 20. Since then he has lived a healthy life without taking HIV/AIDS medications.
Abif and Daniels discuss their journey after contracting HIV, the choice to take or not take HIV/AIDS medication, understanding T-cells and Viral Load, and HIV/AIDS prevention.
Khafre Kujichagulia Abif is an author, writer, and activist. He has been living with HIV for over twenty years. Abif was first diagnosed in 1991. “It wasn’t until five years later that I shared with my mother that I was HIV positive,” says Abif. Since then he has been an activist for HIV/AIDS and has worked hard to bring awareness to the disease that has affected many individuals in the African American community.
The title of his book, Cornbread, Fish and Collard Greens: Prayers, Poems & Affirmations for People Living with HIV/AIDS, came from a conversation he had with his mother after he told her he was HIV positive. “She put her arms around me, she prayed for me and prayed over my life,” says Abif. “And then she went downstairs to the kitchen and pulled out a cast iron skillet and started cooking cornbread, she wanted to fatten me up I guess.” The book consists of 125 writers, famous and unknown poets and authors, some of who are HIV positive and others who are HIV negative. The book is available in different languages such as, Spanish, Cosa, Zulu and French. “It’s a book for the world, we wanted to create a quilt of words to wrap around people to combat the negative words we living with HIV often hear from family, community and just the media,” says Abif.
Currently, Abif is working on his Cycle for Freedom campaign; it is a 2,028 mile mobile campaign, in which he plans to cycle the distance of the Underground Railroad, in order to raise money for HIV/AIDS awareness. In April 2015, Abif will bicycle the Underground Railroad bicycle path from Owen Sound, Canada to Mobile, Alabama. He will stop in 14 cities where they will be having HIV testing rallies and educating individuals on the stigmas around HIV/AIDS.
The Mother House is located in Atlanta, Georgia in the historic West End neighborhood. The Mother House has been a vital part of Atlanta’s African American community. The house is composed of two parts: Sister Song and Sister Love.
Sister Song has been established since 1997 and their main focus is supporting and empowering women of color and their communities. According to Sister Song, the mission of the Sister Song Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective is to amplify and strengthen the collective voices of Indigenous women and women of color to ensure reproductive justice through securing human rights.
Sister Love was founded in 1989 by Dázon Dixon Diallo. Sister Love focuses on educating women of color on topics such as AIDS prevention, self-help and safer sex techniques. According to Sister Love, their mission is to eradicate the adverse impact of HIV/AIDS and other reproductive health challenges upon women and their families through education, prevention, support and human rights advocacy in the United States and around the world.
The Executive Director of Sister Song, Monica Simpson, and the Prevention Specialist of Sister Love, Terry Barlow, discuss the organizations purpose and their duties at the Mother House.