Today’s Anchor for the month of July is a true gem. I met Ms. Nina years ago because her daughter and me grew up together and are good friends. I have watched her incredible journey in life and how she has overcame to be a triumphant contribution to the community. Anchor 6, Inc. is multi-faceted and we address all levels of Chronic Illness that Young Adults can face in their lives. I am sharing Nina’s story because it is empowering and it is great but it will open your eyes into who we are as Health Advocates. I hope Nina’s story will put a smile on your face and know that we are all on this journey called life together.
Ms. Nina Gordon has a Nonprofit, Together As One Ministries, Inc., the organization is a Ministry to help women from the age of 18-up to develop faith, love, and self esteem. To be able to live their lives without the use of drugs and alcohol, built on nothing but the love of God and one another.
Nina’s Social Media Platform:
In September 1996, I was diagnosed with HIV [at the age of 29]. For those that don’t know, that’s the virus that can cause AIDS. I can remember that day when the Nurse told me I was positive(HIV). Those words, what she had on, the time of day and that devastating look she had on her face at the time, I can remember it all. I knew it was just as hard for her to tell me as much as it was for me to hear. September 18, 1996, my life would forever be changed from that moment on.
I can remember the days and weeks that led up to my initially being okay with even having a HIV test in the first place. I had been living with my boyfriend, at the time who was a crack user and continuously returning home giving me the disease Chlamydia. I kept asking him if he went to the doctor to get it cleared and of course he was lying. My first mistake I had to continue to ask instead of making sure, but due to his continued drug use, I eventually left him and moved back to Gastonia, NC, my hometown.
Once you have been diagnosed with HIV the stigma sets in immediately before you even tell the first person. I set myself a part from everyone even my children. The very first person that I told was my high school English teacher. She was working at the time. I don’t know how I drove from the doctor’s office to Ashbrook to tell her, crying the whole way there, but I did. Just so happen God allowed her to be doing her planning period where only she was in the classroom at the time. Everything was so dark for me. All I could think about was that I needed to share this with someone else and that someone was her. I remembered, she listened and gave me hugs occasionally and then I left.
If you are not walking this same path as I am, you will never understand my pain Although I have dealt with HIV for almost 20 years, this does not make the mental and emotional times be easier. I had family and friends to walk away. I have had my children talked about because I am their mother. My children have had to defend my honor to some people they did not even know. I have had to always tell any potential mate that I am HIV positive not only because the state of NC requires that I do, because it is the right and just thing to do. He never told me and he knew!!!!
I would never want anyone to go through everyday life where people look at you not for the color of your skin but because you are in a fight to save your life and the lives of the people coming behind me. I live to help the next person that gets this diagnosis and think it’s a death sentence like I did. But today, it is not. We are living longer and healthier lives. HIV does not define who I am, I define what HIV is. I have done everything the doctors have asked me to do. I stop smoking crack, cocaine, and drinking alcohol along with any other illegal substance for over 13 years ago.
I have been on my medications for over 13 years and have taken them every day since. There have been a couple of times where I have forgotten and that is only because once I think about if I have taken my medications or not, I don’t want to take another one just in case. I fight this illness with my work and my mouth! I work with men and women newly diagnosed and those that have been positive for longer than I have. See God knew that I would be that beacon of hope for the next generation coming through scared, afraid and thinking heir life is over.
There is HOPE and I know there will be a CURE soon. I pray this helps encourage everyone if they have not yet, be tested. It does not matter your race, man or woman. No one is exempt from this but everyone can be educated and fight together. No one ever needs to die. This is why I fight every day for a cure.