VIH Y Yo Translated Workshop Notes

(This spring, the WWHIVDD? collective, in conjunction with Poets & Writers, ran a series of writing workshops focused on a variety of experiences of HIV. One of these workshops was conducted with a Spanish-speaking population. These are the translated notes from that session.)

HIV, How does it impact me?

  • Why isn't there a cure? 
  • White supremacy
  • "The Cure is worth more than the sickness" (reflection on how they are not seen as worthy for a cure, how people with HIV/AIDS are at the bottom of the power structures, and even more disposable, if you are a drug user who is not poz)
  • We need Prevention (condoms, syringe exchange, housing)
  • Need to combat ignorance
  • They kills us with: pills, chemistry, junk food, methadone
  • And who is "they"? Politicians, Pharma, Doctors, Medicaid, prison industrial complex, drug dealers. And driving all these: the economy and capitalism. 
  • We need water, nutrition, medical treatment, information, knowledge
  • "The FEMA coffins are already ready for us."(Talking how they are seen as disposable within the current world and system)

What is a doula?

  • In Latinx communities the closest approximations are comadrona and partera (both terms used typically for a cis woman, midwife and healer). 
  • So, what would a doula do for HIV?
  • Participants emphasized that this is a brand new term for them, but using the framework of comadrona and partera and their own life experiences, an HIV Doula would provide support, encouragement, act as a counselor, motivate, accompany, share information about medications and treatment . 

If I center myself, what is important?

  • Society ("Tell me who you hang out with and I will tell you who you are) (participants really emphasized that this is brought up as a criticism of social class, of society, and politics BUT that this societal judgement drives stigma and impacts their life experiences)
  • Loneliness
  • Love
  • Motivation/encouragement
  • To better oneself
  • Drugs
  • To climb out of the hole
  • There are two wars: internal and global
  • Stop using methadone
  • Cure hepatitis
  • Faith/spiritual health
  • Family - both chosen and blood
  • Family that circles you and motivates
  • To talk and communicate more
  • Respect
  • To seek knowledge and information
  • To seek peace
  • Patience

Concluding Statement

To destroy HIV we propose:
1- Find the cure - invest in scientific research
2- Mobilize education via Internet, groups,  counseling
- must emphasis harm reduction around sex and drugs
3- Development of programs that are comprehensively funded
4- Change the system