#SupportPWN – Marlena Richardson

I was diagnosed with HIV in December 2001. After my initial diagnosis, I was devastated, afraid, scared. I didn’t tell anybody about my diagnosis except my mother and my then-boyfriend. Immediately after I told him that I was positive and suggested that he go get tested, he began to be violent with me. He beat me, made me drink bleach, all kinds of crazy stuff. I lived in fear for a long time.

Then in 2007, I attended my first peer educator training, the Lotus Project, here in South Carolina where I met Naina Khanna, the executive director of Positive Women’s Network – USA. She told me about PWN-USA. I still wasn’t ready to be an advocate, though I did sign up as a member.

Fast forward several years to 2014, and I was fortunate to be one of many to attend the SWARM Summit and PWN’s first national summit for women living with HIV in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, at the Positive Living Conference. I made a connection with PWN in my personal life, and as a result, I’m now the co-chair of the South Carolina Regional Chapter of PWN-USA.

I love PWN because PWN has trained and is continuously training me to be a viable voice for change in my community.Marlena Richardson FB v1

PWN-USA is planning its second national summit for 2016 for women living with HIV to help train the next cadre of leaders to effect change. This summit inspired me–like so many other women–to take control of my narrative and become an advocate, working for policies that respect the rights of women living with HIV like me and fighting the stigma that holds us back. But we can’t do it without your support.

Can you help?  No donation is too large or too small, but every donation will move us closer to our goal, and will move hundreds of women living with HIV closer to the 2016 summit–and true empowerment.

Please donate $10–or as much as you can afford–today and help other women living with HIV like me find their voice and become leaders.