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The world first became aware of AIDS in the early 1980s. According to the most recent estimates, about 33.3 million people are living with HIV today and 50,000 people are infected each year in the US. Recently, San Mateo County Library brought Marvelyn Brown, author of The Naked Truth: Young, Beautiful and (HIV) Positive, and Ana Martinez, a representative of the Health System's STD/HIV Program, to visit 86 young adults throughout the County, including high school students, incarcerated youth, and foster youth. All of the groups Marvelyn visited learned about HIV/AIDS and asked questions on topics ranging from transmission and risk of infection, to the science behind the virus, to the practicalities of living with HIV.
Marvelyn Brown, diagnosed as HIV positive at 19, was ostracized by her community and eventually became homeless before finding her calling as a speaker and advocate. She now speaks internationally on issues related to HIV/AIDS and has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show and America’s Next Top Model. You can read her memoir, or her essay in Not In My Family : AIDS In The African-American Community.
See Marvelyn tell the beginning of her story:
What You Can Do
- Get the facts. Learn about how HIV is spread and know the difference between myths and facts.
- Protect yourself. Consistently protect yourself from contracting the disease.
- Get tested. Free, fast and confidential testing is available throughout San Mateo County.
- Start talking. Talking openly about HIV can reduce the stigma that keeps too many from seeking the testing, prevention and treatment services, and support they need.
Nicole Pasini has worked on library programs and collections for teens, children, and adults and she is currently the Acting Branch Manager at the Woodside Library.