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She works to educate high-risk women on HIV prevention

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BY MEGHA SATYANARAYANA, Detroit Free Press

rosiehayesRosie Hayes, 44, has been HIV positive since at least 1996.

Her goal is to make sure other women in high-risk populations don’t find themselves in her situation.

After sharing a small condo with her mother, Hayes and her three children found themselves homeless in 2004. But she discovered Simon House, a Detroit shelter specifically for HIV-positive women and their children.

“I tossed and turned. I’d never lived in a shelter. I’d thought of a cot — it was dirty, there were bugs around,” she said.

But Simon House was clean, and for seven months, she had her own room and bathroom. She left with her children in September 2005 for a new place in Redford Township after reuniting with her husband.

Now a board member at Simon House, Hayes, a recovering addict, speaks about HIV prevention. She recalls her diagnosis day as one of her worst.

“For two minutes and two seconds, everything went black,” she said.

But she’s a longtime survivor of HIV, and went more than a decade without having to take antiretroviral drugs, which keep the disease at bay.

Her immune system, however, has begun to deteriorate, and she’s on a three-pills-a-day regimen that hopefully will keep her healthy.

She says she worries about heterosexual black women in her age group, a high-risk population.

“Some of them are aware, but not enough in my age range — especially in women of color — have a passion to be educated,” she said. But when she tells them what could happen, “Oh, I can see their countenance change.”

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Written by Symphony

November 30, 2008 at 9:31 am

One Response

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  1. It always helps to have anothers perspective on this matter. Thank you for this post. : Buggin Out

    Arnold

    January 22, 2012 at 10:29 am


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