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St. Paul UMC, Sandhills Medical Foundation promote HIV/AIDS awareness

Posted: November 25, 2011 10:59 a.m.
Updated: November 28, 2011 5:00 a.m.

Hydeia Broadbent was abandoned at birth at the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas where Patricia and Loren Broadbent adopted her as an infant.  Although her HIV condition was congenital, she was not diagnosed as HIV-positive with advancement to AIDS until age three. The prognosis was that she would not live past the age of five. Now at the age of 27, Hydeia spends her time spreading the message of HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention by promoting abstinence, safe-sex practices (for people who choose to have sex), and the initiative “Knowing Your HIV/AIDS Status.”

Broadbent will be a guest speaker at St. Paul United Methodist Church Dec. 2 for the program “Thirty Years and Moving Forward: Stop the Ignorance, Stop the Stigma, and Stop the Transmission.” The church, located at 511 Knights Hill Road, Camden, along with Sandhills Medical Foundation Inc., is sponsoring the program.

The event includes Broadbent as well as free HIV/AIDS testing from 3 to 5 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. in the exhibit hall.

“A lot of people think that because we’re getting closer to a cure that they don’t necessarily have to protect themselves,” Broadbent said. “A lot of people think that if they become infected, they can just pop a pill and be OK.”

Education, Broadbent said, is the solution to dispelling these misconceptions.

“They have to understand that with healthcare cut backs, there are people in some states who are on waiting lists for life saving medication,” she said. “It’s a very expensive disease. And while people are living longer it’s still a disease you can die from. It’s isn’t a death sentence, but it is a life sentence.”

Broadbent also said she is urging people to be accountable for their actions to save lives.

“Every nine and a half minutes, someone becomes infected with HIV,” she said. “Life with AIDS is really hard, but there is life after an HIV positive test result.”

Broadbent said early diagnosis can be the difference between life and death, but too many people become aware of their status when it is too late for life-saving medications to be effective.

“Because of medication available, people can get married and have children. There is life after a positive test result,” she said.

She also emphasized that people can protect others from being infected by knowing their own status of health.

“Knowing your HIV status is not only a representation of self-love, but also states what type of person you choose to be.  Not knowing your HIV status and having unsafe sexual relationships means you could possibly be infecting others,” she said.

For more information about the program, call Teresa Davis at 803-408-3262 ext. 32 or LaVonda Johnson 803-778-2442 ext. 24.

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