Healing Hope

Healing Hope is a project to encourage a cultural shift in harmful narratives that enable HIV-related stigma to persist. We are addressing the visibility of women living with HIV through storytelling. We are pleased to present excerpts of this project here. 

For more information on acquiring a copy of the book or supporting this project, please contact us at info@christiesplace.org.

Healing Hope: A Woven Tapestry of Strength and Solace (Spanish Edition) eBook

Christie's Place Inc., CIT Agency

Stories

"I'm Okay" by Anonymous.

“There are and will still be challenges that I have to work on, and on a daily basis. I have come to the conclusion that we are all warriors and survivors, and it is through the mutual support we can give each other and one day at a time, that I am learning to love myself.”

“Hay y seguirá habiendo desafíos en los que tengo que trabajar y a diario. He llegado a la conclusión de que todas somos guerreras y sobrevivientes, y es a través del apoyo mutuo que podemos brindarnos y un día a la vez, que estoy aprendiendo a amarme a mí misma.”

"A la altura de alcanzar tus sueños" by Kenya.

“All the studies revealed that I was indeed HIV positive. And again, I was stunned. Again, I felt like I was in a bubble and that everything was swirling fast around me. I came to, and I stood solid in the thought that it was whatever it was, and that whatever came, I would keep going. I would give it my all for my daughters! Yes, I fell many times, but I got up again to win many more times. I cried a lot in the shower. I looked in the mirror and couldn’t recognize the deteriorated face I saw there. I cried what I needed to cry. I vented. Then, I would rinse my face and put on makeup. I would come out of the bathroom as if nothing had happened because nobody knew about my condition except me and my partner. I just had to maintain appearances.

Little by little, I began to understand HIV and how to take care of myself. I was invited to meet with a group of women, mothers living with HIV. And that’s when my life took a quick turn. I began to see the sun on the horizon—the good things over the bad. I realized that yes, you can build a life, and create your own story. In that group, I met an angel who said something I will never forget. It’s engraved in me now. ‘Let’s learn to love and embrace where we are in life, a life with HIV.'”

“Al recoger los estudios, efectivamente era VIH positiva. Y de nuevo me aturdĂ­, de nuevo sentĂ­ esa sensaciĂłn como de estar en una burbuja y que las personas avanzaban demasiado rápido alrededor de mĂ­. Pero regresĂ©, y me plantĂ© bien en la mente que fuera lo que fuera, y que se viniera lo que se viniera, yo saldrĂ­a adelante. ¡Que le echarĂ­a todas las ganas por mis hijas! SĂ­, muchas ves caĂ­, pero me levantaba con más ganas. LlorĂ© muchĂ­simo en la regadera. Me veĂ­a al espejo y ya no me conocĂ­a de lo deteriorada que me veĂ­a. Lloraba lo que tenĂ­a que llorar, me desahogaba. DespuĂ©s me enjuagaba la cara y me maquillaba. SalĂ­a del baño como si no pasará nada, pues nadie sabĂ­a de mi condiciĂłn, nada más mi pareja y yo. TenĂ­a que mantener las apariencias.
 
Poco a poco empecĂ© a entender lo que era el VIH y los cuidados que tengo que tener. Tuve una invitaciĂłn a un grupo de mujeres, de mamás de familias que vivĂ­an con VIH. AhĂ­ mi vida dio un giro de prisa. ComencĂ© a ver el sol en el horizonte, a ver las cosas buenas y no las malas. A darme cuenta que sĂ­ se puede crear toda una vida, y, sobre todo, crear tu propia historia. En ese grupo conocĂ­ a un ángel que una vez dijo una frase que se me quedĂł bien grabada que es: “Tenemos que aprender a querer y abrazar a nuestra condiciĂłn de vida que es el VIH”. “

"Una Nueva Persona" by Delia

“That’s when some folks came and rescued me from ‘el bordo.’ They asked me if I wanted to change, and I gave myself the chance to change and have a son. I thank God for my son. Now, I have my mother. My family supports me, pampers me, and gives me advice. I also feel loved by many people who know me here in my neighborhood. They give me advice and say, ‘You know what? I’m so glad that you’ve been drug-free for so long.’ I even thank God for having HIV because I know that HIV is the reason I stopped using drugs.”
 
“Fue cuando unas personas me fueron y me rescataron al bordo. Me dijeron que si querĂ­a cambiar—y yo me di la oportunidad de poder cambiar y poder darme la oportunidad de tener un hijo. Gracias a Dios tengo un hijo. Ahorita tengo a mi madre, tengo a mi familia que me apoya, que me consiente, que me da apoyo, que me da consejos. TambiĂ©n me siento querida por muchas personas que me conocen aquĂ­ en mi privada, aquĂ­ donde yo vivo. Me dan consejos y me dicen, ‘ÂżSabes quĂ©? Me da mucho gusto de que tĂş vayas a cumplir tanto tiempo de limpia y tanto tiempo de estar sin usar drogas’. Yo le doy gracias a Dios por tener la condiciĂłn porque yo sĂ© que, porque tuve la condiciĂłn, el VIH, yo dejĂ© de consumir drogas. “

Read more about Healing Hope through our national partner at The Well Project.