This Positive Life Video Series: An Interview With Wanda Hernandez
By Kellee Terrell
When Wanda was diagnosed with HIV in 1995, she was completely shocked; she thought she had always practiced safer sex. Like many people who are newly diagnosed, fear began to take over. But instead of letting that fear consume her, she educated herself about HIV and eventually became an activist lobbying in Albany, N.Y., on behalf of people living with HIV/AIDS. This mother of one talks about the loneliness of being positive and working in corporate America, the importance of securing housing for people living with HIV/AIDS, and why the AIDS community can never give up hope.
“Housing is important for people living with HIV because they can’t concentrate on their meds. They can’t concentrate on going to the doctor. They are constantly worried about where they are going to lay their head at night. For me, I got involved in the fight with VOCAL New York, because I am one of those people facing homelessness. After holding two jobs at a time, for years, and investing in a safety net that was supposed to protect people like myself, I feel let down by the government. Them choosing how much you get left with at the end of the day is not fair.”