by Christina Dogbey (Red Pump ambassador for Philadelphia, PA)
You mean besides the fact I look amazing in red pumps? I rock the red pump because it matters.
It matters that women and girls are the fastest growing demographic of new HIV/AIDS cases.
It matters that in this group, women and girls of color are disproportionately over-represented.
It matters that in Sub-Saharan Africa, there are countries where 1/3 of the population is HIV positiven that in -utero transmission of the virus still exists and that children are being made orphans by this disease every. Single. Day.
It matters because for all the progress made in diagnosing and treating HIV/AIDS, we have not cured it (despite popular belief). The pandemic silently grows.
It matters because the stigma attached to being HIV positive must be erased. Until it is gone, people will not want to talk about it, not get tested and will prefer to live in ignorance about their status. This willful ignorance is killing us.
I decided to join this movement because I am committed to improving the public’s health, and I could not let this inspired oppotunity to effect change pass me by.
I joined because in working for my local health dpt as a tuberculosis epidemiologist (a disease that is “married” to HIV) I have seen the numbers. They are scary. But I will spare you the statistics.
What I see every week speaks more than numbers ever could. I see young girls (and boys) barely old enough to know what sex is, being told they are HIV positive. I see the terror and devastation in their eyes. I see them already writing their obituaries in their minds.
Our children don’t deserve HIV/AIDS as their legacy. That’s why it matters. And that is why I rock the Red Pump.
My name Christina Dogbey and I am fiercely rocking the red pump for HIV/AIDS awareness in the City of Brotherly Love. I currently serve as the Tuberculosis Control Epidemiologist for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.
I joined the Red Pump Project as the Philadelphia Ambassador not only because I have a passion for excellent health outcomes for all, but because my life has personally been touched by HIV as I have 2 friends from high school who are living POSITIVE lives. Also, my office is above the City’s dedicated STD/HIV clinic, so I bear daily witness to the devastation HIV has wrought in the lives of Philadelphians.
By day and night I am also an Internet Chatty Cathy, and can be found on my blog Lost Woman Child or cruising starscape of the Twitterverse–> @BBMolasses is my handle.