Editor’s note: It usually takes an event or person that moves you to feel something is actually “real” and can happen to you. For me, that something was HIV/AIDS—that person, Marvelyn Brown. While watching TV one day, I came across Marvelyn telling her story of being a freshman at her local college in Tennessee and just months after her 19th birthday, being diagnosed with HIV. She contracted the virus from her then-boyfriend through just one night of unprotected sex.
How did this 23-year-old make HIV “real” to me? Perhaps, and I hate to say it, because her story was not of a prostitute or drug addict. But while her story can expose the HIV misconceptions you may have, it’s her quest to share her story and spread awareness that makes HIV a reality for all of us.
Savvy Miss: How did you find out you were HIV positive?
Marvelyn Brown: I was sick in the hospital due to pneumonia. The doctor didn’t know what was going on so they suggested an HIV test. [When the results came in] he told me ‘you’re HIV positive’ and I just looked at him. It was a blank reaction. At the time, I didn’t really know what to think.
SM: When did it hit you that you were “HIV positive”?
Marvelyn: I began calling people. My sister was like “oh my god, oh my god!” She was freaking out. Another friend was eight months pregnant at the time. She hung up the phone, [then] called back and said, ‘You have HIV; I don’t want you to come around me or my child.’ My first rejection made me step back and think, ‘Marvelyn, the doctor just told you you’re HIV positive.’
|It takes a courageous woman to speak out against HIV. Thanks for sharing your story, Marvelyn.|
|Thanks Marvelyn for being so open and continuing to share your story with others. This is the kind of reality check people need but often forget.|
|Many people are still unaware of the difference between HIV and AIDS and think that both only affect certain groups of people. It was helpful to read this interview in many ways, one of which is that it was a wake-up call to be more careful.|
|I admire the fact that Marvelyn is optimistic regardless of her situation and does all she can to help others.|
|"I have a mission; I have a purpose in life." Marvelyn's philosophy on life is definitely inspiring and one to imitate. I admire her for all her courage, because I don't know if I could be as strong.|
|I will definitely share this story with my two teenage daughters and their girlfriends who will be entering college. This is something that young people do not think about and it comes with devasting consequences. I appreciate Marvelyn's desire to help others. She is so unselfish and brave. Thanks for the wonderful article Delilah. I am happy to be able to share these stories with my daughters( the story about the young girl who was raped and this story) and hope to possibly save them and their friends from the painful experiences these poor young women had to go through. Thanks again.|
|Carolanne -- Los Angeles|
|What a powerful story. Hearing about someone like Marvelyn really reminds us that it could happen to anyone.|
|Maya522 -- Plainfield|
|I'm so glad that Savvy Miss did this story on Marvelyn Brown. It reinforces the fact that HIV does not discriminate. I think it is great that Marvelyn is so open with her feelings and beliefs and does not define herself based on her HIV status. It is definitely an article that I will share with others.|
I truly feel for Marvelyn.
She is a beautiful woman and I applaud her for being so courageous to share her story with everyone. But it makes me so angry that people are still having unprotected sex all the time. Let this be a wake up call that diseases are real and it could happen to you or someone you know.
|Marvelyn, I am very proud of you. For you too have the courage that you did when you revealed yourself to the public eye tell us a lot about you, however, I feel that because HIV is such of a deadly thing, it's selfish on your behalf when you choose to sleep with another who's negative. I underthand that you are a victim yourself, but a negative person should be educated on the disease, and you should just walk away because you know better than they do. Men can be so stupid when it comes to sex and a good orgasm, so they really don't think about the after-effects. I had a friend/Trina that died in 2004 and my 2nd cousin died in Sept 2007, so I understand how you feel. If I offend you, I'm sorry, but that's just my opinion.|