Kelly Rowland, a five-time Grammy Award winner, is a busy mom and performer. Still, she is determined to make time to support the cause of HIV education. “HIV affects millions of people on a daily basis, and often times they are unfairly discriminated against,” she says. “I think it’s important to continuously campaign and bring light to the issues so that we work to remove this stigma, educate communities on getting tested, ensure safe practices and ultimately find a cure.”
Until then, she urges young people to empower themselves with the proper tools “so that they can make informed decisions about safe sex and protecting themselves and their loved ones.” She urges her fans to “be selfish enough to know your partner’s status before you indulge in sexual activity.”
She also suggests parents and others educators approach informing young adults about HIV with “love, respect and an open dialogue. Parents must find a way to educate their kids at home and not have the world teach them about sex or safe sex.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) echo Rowland’s approach. They suggest showing a partner a video about HIV or talking about the HIV education campaign to get a conversation about status started, and to discuss HIV well before having sex. The Well Project also suggests it’s never too early for parents to talk to children; many have heard of HIV by the age of eight.
Raising HIV awareness
As for Rowland, she is working with Johnson & Johnson to raise greater awareness. She and the brand called on the public to submit videos that show support and share the facts about HIV today. “These submissions are being compiled into one video that will be released on World AIDS Day, and we want everyone to share that video to help raise awareness.”
For Rowland, these developments make her commitment even more worthwhile. “HIV awareness has come a long way since I started being involved,” she says. “I am extremely proud of the resilience that this community has, to continue doing good work in bringing light to the issue. The fight is challenging, but worth it.”
Liane Bonin Starr, [email protected]