Start The Conversation About HIV/AIDS With Friends And Family! #OneConversation @TalkHIV #Ad


disclosure    How has HIV or AIDS affected your life?  Unfortunately, chances are that you know someone, or are related to someone, who is HIV positive.  Since there is still a huge stigma around the disease, most people choose not to talk about it.  As a result, they forego having important conversations with their friends and family about how they can protect themselves or what the facts are around how one can contract it.

    Our own family has been directly affected by HIV because both my husband and I have cousins who are HIV positive.  I was 13 years old when I found out my older male cousin had HIV.  I can still remember how it was something that was discussed only in whispers and that the entire family went to great lengths to keep a secret from outsiders.  These were just not topics that were openly talked about in the Latino community.

    Honestly, I didn’t know much about HIV back then and, every time I asked an adult in the family about it, they shushed me and changed the subject.  In retrospect, I now know that this secrecy also had a lot to do with the fact that my cousin was also a homosexual.  As far as I was concerned, he was still my cousin and nothing had changed about the way that I felt about him.  One of my favorite memories is dancing with him at my other cousin’s Sweet Sixteen.

    I wish I could say that much has changed almost 25 years later when it comes to talking about HIV, sex, and sexuality.  The reality is that there is still a huge stigma around HIV.  Due to this shame, many people continue to be silent about it  which is something that we cannot afford to continue to happen.  Studies show that talking about HIV/AIDS helps to educate people about what to do to prevent and treat HIV.  We need to talk openly about HIV prevention, HIV testing, and condom use, all of which lower new HIV infections.


    Young Hispanic/Latinos, ages 13-24, made up 20% of all new HIV infections among youth in 2010.  That is an unacceptable number!  Parents need to educate their children about preventing HIV infections and they can start the dialogue with just a few words here and there.  Our kids have to know that if they are sexually active they need to protect themselves from HIV.  We also need to make it very clear that HIV/AIDS does not discriminate and anyone can get it.

    This month, I had the opportunity to participate in a teleconference with Maria Mejia who is Colombian-born and was told in 1991 that she was HIV-positive at age 18.  She was infected by her boyfriend at age 16 and considers herself a “Survivor, not a victim.”  As an advocate for Latinas with HIV, she aims to save lives and educate others in the Latino community by keeping the conversation going and working to eradicate the stigma around the disease.  I was inspired by her courage and her willingness to share her story so candidly with others.


    Have the #OneConversation that you cannot afford not to have with your children and loved ones.  This month is National Latino AIDS Awareness Day and it’s the perfect time to start the conversation and to help protect the health of our community as well as reduce the spread of HIV among Hispanics/Latinos.  Every conversation we have about HIV brings us one step closer to reducing the stigma around it and sharing of the wrong information.

    Visit the CDC website to get facts and tips on how you can start the conversation with your loved ones about HIV and AIDS.  You can also reach out on Twitter and Facebook because we need to talk openly about HIV and it needs to happen NOW!

Check out the Sin Vergüenza (Without Shame) telenovela:

Let’s Discuss:  How do you plan on talking to your children about HIV and sex when the time comes?

Disclosure:  This post is made possible by support from the We Can Stop HIV One Conversation at a Time campaign. All opinions are my own.  I only recommend products or services I use personally and I believe will be “family friendly.” I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.


© 2014, Tough Cookie Mommy. All rights reserved.


  1. My girls are young and I’ve already started talking to them.. at their level and. Plan on tallking to them as openly and honestly as possible. My mom never talked about brie s word so I know how important it is.

  2. I’ve spoken to both my boys and my daughter and explained to them the consequences of having unprotected sex. I myself have been personally affected by it, a cousin of mine was just recently diagnosed with it, having been infected by her boyfriend and she’s really taking it hard. We really need to talk and educate our kids, family members, friends about this deadly disease.

  3. How did I not know that the stats for latinos were so bad? That makes me sad. This is definitely worth talking about.

  4. I have known several HIV infected people. One was a goof friend and eventually committed suicide-his family never accepted him as a homosexual. There were 2 young girls adopted with HIV who lived in my building as well-they bith lived relatively long lives thank heavens and were accepted by all. I really hope the stigma is not as bad as it used to be and Moms and Dads–Talk to your children!!

  5. WOW 20% of all new HIV infections is a staggering statistic within an ethnicity. Obviously the stigma needs to go away and there needs to be more conversations.

  6. We definitely need to talk about some more of the issues in our world, health problems such as HIV are definitely something we should all speak about and make the younger generation more aware of. x

  7. Chrystal M. says

    There are a lot of things we need to be much more open about and discuss. HIV/Aids is one of them. So far I have not known anyone affected by this terrible disease.

  8. Mandy Young Carter says

    I like to see campaigns that get the conversation out there about hard to discuss topics. I plan to carry open conversations about real life circumstances with my children like my parents did with me.

  9. I don’t know anyone personally with HIV/AIDS (that I know of!) But I know that it’s definitely a pressing problem. I think that anything that gets people discussing serious issues like this is a good thing.

  10. Rebecca Bryant says

    I am not sure. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that son is old enough to be thinking this kind of stuff.

  11. I also do not know of anybody (that I know of) that is HIV+ and openly discusses it. I think getting rid of the stigma would help a lot.

  12. Kudos to you for starting the conversation. I have met a few people through my work in schools who are HIV positive. Most of them children. The group that I visited were happy and fun loving. They were given this chance to live an ordinary (as possible) life all because someone had the courage to fight for them and to speak up.

  13. mail4rosey says

    There was a man in Florida who got so frail and thin that I highly suspected he did have it. He was homeless and stood outside w/a sign for money. I didn’t give to the people w/signs often but did feel compelled to give him what I had when I would see him. I often wondered about his health care, and hoped that he at least had the state care…but who knows? 🙁

  14. Melissa Smith says

    I don’t think I have ever known of anyone to be HIV positive, but like you said, it’s usually not talked about. Maybe if people wouldn’t be so afraid to talk about it, something could actually be done to help prevent it.

  15. I don’t know anyone with HIV, however I think it is important to have the conversation!

  16. I didn’t realize the rates were so high for some ethnic groups. It is important to talk and not be afraid of talking – be afraid of NOT talking about it.

  17. This is such an important topic, but to be honest, I don’t know how to tell my children (when they are old enough) about HIV. Education about sexual health to all, and getting rid of the stigma today is a great place to start 🙂

  18. I haven’t really thought about it. My oldest is 10 and I keep thinking that I have ages before we have to talk about that sort of thing, but we really don’t.

  19. Jennifer Williams says

    We talk about this somewhat regularly. We have a family friend that has AIDS and has been living with it for years. It is still so important to discuss it and make sure our kids know how to protect themselves.

  20. Nicole Ramage says

    I watch a lot of Law and Order SVU and there was an episode on the other day about someone that had HIV and her children were infected. my kiddo has learned about a lot of these things from watching with me.

  21. Such an important subject, especially for kids! I don’t personally know anyone with AIDS, but I think it’s imperative that the next generation be trained to not discriminate, for sure!

  22. We haven’t had any talks like this yet, but my oldest just turned 7. We still have a little time in my eyes.

  23. I haven’t heard much about this disease since the 80,s and 90’s. I know it is still around but I don’t know anyone who has it. My kids are grown and we did have talks often when they were both growing up.

  24. Lesley Stevens says

    Good topic of discussion for our friends and family. I know someone personally who has been using an H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide) treatment for years and it has pretty much stopped his HIV in its tracks for over 10 years. HIV/AIDS can’t live or thrive in an oxygen rich environment. Having a close friend with HIV has really impacted my life and I do discuss it with my kids because its so important.

  25. Oh gosh I haven’t a clue. I haven’t really thought about it yet. But I guess that time is coming quickly. I think I may need to do more research but I plan on being honest with them and being as straight forward as I can I guess!

  26. mena & taty says

    Those are scary figures. Definitively a topic to discuss. I think we will get a book to guide us. But we want to be open and scientific about it

  27. Lois Alter Mark says

    It’s great that you’re helping to raise awareness about this. I think the more subjects we can talk about and get out there in the open, the more solutions we can all come up with.

  28. Barbara Hoyer says

    There’s a stigma in my husband’s family around a family member who has HIV. I always feel bad for him when I hear how they talk about him.

  29. Amy Desrosiers says

    I do not know of anyone affected by this disease, but it is very scary! I pray for the people who have it so they can hopefully live long, happy lives.

  30. My children are grown but believe me, I had that conversation with them when they were teenagers. I am a nurse and worked for many years with HIV and AIDS patients and I know how important open communication is when it comes to talking about any type of illness or disease…but especially sexually transmitted diseases.

  31. Not sure I am ready to have this talk with my pre-teens, but I will one day.

  32. I think it’s so important to talk about these topics early with kids. Not talking about it gives them less of a chance to prevent this from happening. Knowledge is power.

  33. One of my favorite teachers from high school died of AIDS-related complications. He died years after I graduated. I was shocked and heartbroken to find out. I think it’s important to discuss all STDs with kids, especially HIV.

  34. Carmen Nimo Perez says

    This is a very important topic that I believe should be discussed with kids as early as they can handle the conversation.

  35. It’s important to discuss topics like this to family and friends to raise awareness that this disease is still out there. Thanks for the information.

  36. Thank you for being so honest with your story! I had a relative who passed away from this, and it was a total secret until it happened. It is a shame, and I’m glad you are standing up for awareness!

  37. Megan @C'mon Get Crafty says

    We walked through a section devoted to Ryan White at a children’s museum, and I was shocked to discover my hubby had never heard of him. I feel like HIV/AIDS was everywhere when I was a kid, yet so taboo to discuss at the same time. It seems we’ve come a LONG way since then, but there is still a long way to go.

  38. mail4rosey says

    I haven’t had this conversation with my youngest (he’s only 7). I have had it with my teen daughter and the older two (not grown) boys.

  39. We haven’t really discussed sex in detail yet – I think my kids don’t want to know. 🙂 But we’ve discussed sexuality and HIV because my cousin also has HIV and I wanted my kids to understand.

  40. Veronica Solomon says

    It is good to have this conversation. Most importantly know how to protect ourselves

  41. Wow, I had no idea of this statistic about the Hispanic/Latino community! What a story this young lady has and glad she is using her situation to speak out and help spread awareness.

  42. When the time comes to talk to my son I hope I can be open and honest with him about it. My family never once talked about sex and hiv with us when I was younger. I learned about it in school during sex ed. Sex was so taboo that the only thing my uncle ever said was “don’t ever” lol

  43. Motivating Mommy says

    When the time comes- we will have many a conversations. All leading and ending with safety first.

  44. Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell says

    I think it’s so important for parents to start the conversations on these things before they hear erroneous information from their peers or other sources.

  45. Melissa Vera says

    By being honest and straightforward. It is the hardest conversation to have but probably the most important one.

  46. Being open and honest is the only way we will be able to contain this disease. Communication! As far my children, we plan to educate them on everything to be known about the disease. You shouldn’t be afraid of it, just aware of it.


  1. […]   Our own family has been impacted by HIV on my husband’s side and my side.  We started the conversation when our cousins became HIV positive and we realized that, we couldn’t live in denial about […]

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