Truth Pandemic

Your Questions Answered: HIV and Reproduction

Written by: Jen Sloniger
Your Questions Answered is a blog series which addresses Project HOPEFUL blog readers’ most burning questions. Send your questions to:

Question: How does HIV affect an adult who is married (and therefore sexually active) to a person who is HIV-? How would the couple go about having a child who is healthy without compromising the health of the spouse who is HIV-?
A couple where one partner is HIV+ and the other is negative is called an HIV discordant couple. The good news for discordant couples is that there are options available and child-birthing IS possible for them. To help us answer today’s questions regarding conception and reproduction our good friend, Linda Walsh, NP, Clinical Director of the University of Chicago Adoption Center shares some information:
To answer the question about conception depends on which partner (woman or man) is infected with HIV as to what strategy will be utilized. Being on a stable ARV regimen, having an undetectable viral load, not having other STDs all decrease the risk of transmission, but do not eliminate it entirely.

There is a technique called sperm washing [for positive men], also artificial insemination is an option [for protection for either a negative man or a negative woman.] And there is some data on doing it the old fashioned way with an undetectable viral load, etc.

Most of my patients, who are young adults/adolescents, have not used the sperm washing technique. All have been young women who’ve had children that are thus far HIV negative. I have no knowledge of any of their partners becoming positive. tells us more about sperm washing:
This involves separating sperm cells from seminal fluid, and then testing these […]

Your Questions Answered: Injuries and Clean-Up

Written by: Jen Sloniger
We hope you enjoy the first post in our Your Questions Answered blog series. Please submit your questions to:

Today’s question comes from Rachel. She writes:

As a mom of 5 children, I know I’ve had situations where my children are bleeding and as I rush to help them, I inevitably get their blood on my clothing, skin, etc. As the mom of an HIV positive child, how do you handle these situations? Do you grab a pair of gloves first? Or do you take some kind of drug to counteract the HIV if you do end up directly
handling their blood?
Great question Rachel.

Families with HIV+ children practice Universal Precautions whenever there is a blood spill. However, it is a good idea for all families to model responsible handling of blood for their children no matter the HIV status of their family members. Kids need to learn that we never touch anyone’s blood. Teaching them about Universal Precautions enables them to offer assistance to injured persons in a safe and healthy way.

Because our family practices Universal Precautions we have a couple of kits set up in strategic places should we require them. Our main “Clean Up Kit”, as we call it, is in our kitchen. It contains a box of gloves, some antibiotic ointment, a variety of shapes and sizes of band-aids, and a few other common first-aid type ointments. I also keep baggies filled with some gloves, a few paper towels, and a variety of band-aids in my purse and in the glove box of my car.

In Universal Precautions it is suggested that an additional barrier be added between your skin and any body fluid from another […]

Win This Beautiful Bracelet

Funky Fish Designs has donated this AMAZING Truth Pandemic bracelet and Project HOPEFUL is offering you a chance to win.  Your $5 gift puts you in the drawing for this beautiful piece AND helps continue Project HOPEFUL’s Truth Pandemic educational work.

To enter go HERE put TRUTH in the comments. One entry per every $5 donation.


Drawing on December 10th

Our special thanks to Funky Fish Designs!

A Child Shall Lead Them

Today’s Stigma Story was submitted by A’s mother on her behalf. A* is an 8 year old girl who is in the 3rd grade. Stigma Stories is a short series running through the week of World AIDS Day (Dec 1st) to highlight the need for education about HIV/AIDS. The Truth Pandemic Campaign was created to help combat social stigma through ongoing educational initiatives.

One day I was playing with my friends at recess, and I tripped. My knee started bleeding really bad. My friends rushed over and tried to help me clean my leg.  I told them not to touch my blood or anybody’s blood.  Then I went to the nurse.  When I came back, everybody kept asking me, “Why were you acting so weird?  It was just a little blood, not a big deal.” I answered them, “It was a big deal. You’re never supposed to touch anyone’s blood because you don’t know what they have.” I could tell they weren’t really paying attention and didn’t think I was making sense.

I was frustrated because it’s like children don’t know anything! I felt like I needed to talk to people about HIV and stuff–how you can get it and how you can’t.

“Guys,” I said, “Don’t freak out or tell everyone in the whole school this.  I have something to tell you.  I have HIV.”  They looked surprised.

“How did you get it?” they asked.

I said, “my mom had HIV and didn’t know, so I got it too.”

“What if you touch someone?”

“If I touch someone, you won’t get it. But you shouldn’t touch someone’s BLOOD, because HIV is in the blood.”

“What if you don’t know you have it? Could we have it?”

“No, you would know if […]

Disclosure Dilemma: When You Want to Tell

Today’s Stigma Story is written by Kay and Lance of Stigma Stories is a short series the week of World AIDS Day (Dec 1st) to highlight the need for education about HIV/AIDS. The Truth Pandemic Campaign was created to help combat social stigma through ongoing educational initiatives.

Lance and I have three precious children through adoption.  We are proud of that.  We cannot imagine loving them more than we do.  Two of them are of a different ethnicity and we love that about them.  We can’t imagine our family any other way.  We want the world to know what a blessing adoption is.  We hope God will use our example to further adoptions in our community.

Though, we have a secret we’re afraid to share.  At least that’s what it feels like.

Our three-year-old daughter has HIV.  Her disease poses no risk to our family, to our church, or to our community.  She takes medicine twice a day.  One day she can attend school, get a job, marry and have children.  For now she plays with dolls and likes to read in mommy’s lap.  But it feels like we are hiding something.

My husband and I have long since accepted her HIV.  We learned everything we could about the disease early on in the adoption process.  But we knew most people in our community still had old stereotypes and misconceptions about HIV/AIDS.  How would our community react if we told them we were adopting a child with HIV?  How would our friends and relatives treat us?  What would they think of our daughter?

We decided to keep her HIV status confidential because we wanted to protect her and our family from stigma and criticism and ostracism.  […]

The Time for Education is NOW!

written by: Jennifer Sloniger

What to do for World AIDS Day?

The question had been posed to the Project HOPEFUL team and we were brainstorming. I took the morning to consider some options. Later that day, when I submitted a proposal for creating a World AIDS Day educational initiative I hardly knew what I was getting us into.

The idea for the Truth Pandemic Campaign couldn’t have come at a more hectic time for Project HOPEFUL as the People magazine article was about to release and the whole team was rushing to launch a new and improved website. ( Everyone was already firing on all cylinders; could we really accomplish everything required in less than two months?

As the pressure of trying to arrange all the details mounted I began to wonder if I hadn’t created more trouble for Project HOPEFUL than it was worth. I knew the concept was an answer to my prayers over what more could be done to help raise awareness about HIV/AIDS this year, but doubt was seeping in. Was this campaign a giant distraction during a crucial expansion for Project HOPEFUL? Was it too much to handle right now?

Then, my HIV+ son took a nasty fall.*cringe* He bit through his tongue and his lip (how he accomplished both at the same time still baffles us). And, there was blood. LOTS of it.

The blood spill wasn’t a big deal. We practice universal precautions in this home and know there has never been a case of transmission in a normal family living situation. ( Bleeding DOES happen in normal families.) However, knowing our son was in serious pain made dealing with his injury difficult for us. Needless to say, we took take a trip […]