“My name is Wanda and I have AIDS.”

Four HIV+ women who participated in a movie about preventing AIDS with Boston College.

I got this letter from Wanda two days ago. (This is an abbreviated version that she wrote on a friend’s computer.)

Hello Betty,

I read about your site in Skirt magazine. I am 55 years old.  I have AIDS.  I was diagnosed in 2002.  I was infected by my “monogamous” partner who had previously slept with someone HIV+ (but he never bothered to tell me).

I converted from HIV+ to AIDS in May 2008.  The reason I am writing to you is that the state funded program that provides meds to myself & others is in DIRE straits (the Aids Drug Assistance Program).  As a retired RN Case Manager, I have been trying to utilize my many skills to help myself and many more like me in my area.

I have determined that I will no longer be “anonymous.” Someone needs to be an advocate for us. Unfortunately, most of my work to help my peers needs to be done online…I am hoping you will see my cause as one worthy enough to help me towards my goal of having my own computer & printer.  I ask this not just for myself but for others that can’t at this time speak out.

I thank you tremendously for taking time to read this.

Sincerely,
Wanda Brendle Moss (and the many voices whose privacy rights I uphold)

When I went online (because I am lucky enough to have a computer) to learn more about women & AIDS, this is what I found: Every 9½ minutes, a person in the United States will be diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. 27% of them are women. Of those newly diagnosed women, 68% are black women and they die from the disease at a rate 20 times higher than white women. In fact, the disease is the leading cause of death for African-American women between the ages of 25-34.

My initial response to Wanda’s letter was to write back and gently ask her if I could talk to her AIDS Care Manager to corroborate her story. But now, I am ashamed of that. Not because I’m gullible, or think people are incapable of manipulation. It’s just that the upside is so much greater than the downside. If she’s handing me a line, I’ll have lost $100. If she’s telling the truth, (and in my heart I know she is), I’ll be validating what she’s doing and the tremendous bravery it takes to do it.

God bless you, Wanda Brendle Moss. Stay well.

For information about testing http://www.aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/hiv-aids-101/overview/testing/

For charities, you may contribute to the National Minorities AIDS Council at http://www.nmac.org/


11 thoughts on ““My name is Wanda and I have AIDS.”

  1. I found the cure. It is a plant only found in china. I don’t recall the name for it is in Latin form. The USA does not allow the plant to be brought over to the USA. It can cure the worst of patients, in the worse of conditions, with really weak immune systems.

    Aids virus comes with a protein which protects its nucleus from being attacked by the bodies immune system. The pulp extracted from this plant mixed with a special medical acid which renders it injectable, is then administered at 30 cc daily to the patient. This injection, bust open, breaks, that motherfucking protein, and then the magic of the most wonderfull machine, the human body and its immune system sends destruction upon all the aids in the world.

    I feel so incredible, my eyes are filled with tears, I can barely see what I am typing, my heart filled with empathy and compassion. What joy, glory, and the most beautifull day on earth when everyone takes heed to my words and be healed for ever from aids.

    I love you all, my suffering brother and sisters.

    Alex

  2. This really touched my heart.. And although i am not one to discriminate against hiv/aids sufferers, i was still unfortunatley very unaware. Maybe it’s more the fact that where I’m from (Melbourne, Australia) aids hiv is not very known of. And also i used to face the other way when faced with stories like this because it’s just plays wit my head thinking about it. I pray to god that Wanda and all of the beautiful people who help sufferers are looked after. Love you all.

  3. Here is an update from me, Wanda Brendle Moss. Thanks to Betty’s generosity and forsight! I am able today to be in a computer class, helping others learning about how to work/advocate on a computers.

  4. When I first read this I copied these lines to comment on:

    “Not because I’m gullible, or think people are incapable of manipulation. It’s just that the upside is so much greater than the downside. If she’s handing me a line, I’ll have lost $100. If she’s telling the truth, (and in my heart I know she is), I’ll be validating what she’s doing and the tremendous bravery it takes to do it.”

    Then I read the comments, which I don’t always do.

    My original comment still stands:

    I am so glad you said that because I second-guess almost every donation request I get. (As a retail store owner I receive a lot.) I thought it was good to see that you do research about the organizations in your project. Being in the public eye, it’s almost an obligation to your readers. But for this one I thought it brought back the reality of your reasoning behing the project. Also, thank you for the reminder that sometime “I” have to just trust the person asking!

  5. I am ashamed to say that I didn’t really find your blog until much later. I have tried to post several times.
    To those that are wondering, indeed I do have AIDS. I was diagnosed HIV+ July 2002.
    I converted to AIDS 2008.
    I refuse to any longer keep quiet. Women, teens and children are also impacted by this life-long disease.
    Any one having sex is at risk. Pregnant women risk passing it on…..although there are ways to minimize this risk.
    I will be glad to talk with anyone regarding HIV/AIDS. My email wandab54@hotmail.com(have trouble with att.net sometimes)
    Betty…..you are angel to me and many more. Your generosity served far more than just myself…as most are not willing to be open about HIV/AIDS. That silence only perpetuates the problem. It is not one “if we don’t talk about it, it will go away!”
    Much love and appreciation, Wanda

  6. Girl, I was ready to support your blog. But after reading the very first post…I’m clicking away. You think a black woman or any woman at that…would lie to you about having AIDS? For $100?
    Wow….that says a lot about you.

    • Hellifiknow — That was exactly my point! I was really ashamed of myself that I second-guessed my immediate response, which was to write a check, no questions asked. And that was what I chose to write about because I think it’s an interesting part of the whole ethos of giving. And p.s. somebody wrote to me today that they are sending Wanda a computer & printer because of this story — so that is such great news!

    • Thanks so much for helping Wanda. Please do not feel badly for being wary about the request. As someone involved in social services, you must seek answers in order to truly help and I don’t believe it was simply based on assumptions about race. I’m glad that you and the computer donor were able to assist Wanda because she will certainly pass on the generosity through her advocacy work.

  7. Hi- I am an HIV social worker at Grady. This post is amazing and inspiring. Thank you for doing it. And thank you for having such integrity in sending the money along, wherever it may land.

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