When you think of Hydeia Broadbent you think of a young lady who is living a courageous life. Hydeia spends her time spreading the message of HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention by promoting abstinence, and safe-sex practices.
“People think because I was born with HIV that my story doesn’t apply to them. The same disease I am living with is the same disease you can get if you don’t practice safe sex and know your HIV status and the HIV status of your sexual partner. I ask people to use my testimony as a warning of what you don’t want to go through.”
Young Urban Voices had the opportunity to interview Ms. Broadbent about living with the HIV disease.
Young Urban Voices: What is your story told through your words?
Hydeia Broadbent: I became an HIV activist at the age of 6. I kind of followed in my mother’s footsteps. When I was first diagonsed, we didn’t really have the money for treatment to deal with the HIV/AIDS.
Young Urban Voices: Why is it so important to you to speak out about HIV?
Hydeia Broadbent: Well, HIV/AIDS is 100% preventable. So I just want to inform people and give them options. You know, educate them. They need to know what the reality is. I want people to try and have as much information as possible so they can make wise choices.
Young Urban Voices: Some days I wake up and feel fine. It’s not like I’m sick everyday. You have bad days when you may wake up with a serious infection where there’s something serious going on. But from day to day people are able to operate and to live.
Young Urban Voices: Do you feel that you had to grow up differently than other children?
Hydeia Broadbent: Definitely, the first part of my years I spent about 20 months in the hospital until I was about 9 or 10 years old. I didn’t go to regular school, I didn’t have a lot of exposure to youth my age.
Young Urban Voices: How did you get started reaching out to the society?
Hydeia Broadbent: I started doing this because people were getting discriminated against. Also, a lot of my friends growing up were really scared and that’s what made me want to talk about it. I just wanted to make it better for my friends.
Young Urban Voices: What causes or benefits are you linked to?
Hydeia Broadbent: I’m the spokesperson for AMPRO haircare products for a year and my face will be on the product. But also if you buy a bracelet that reads: Til There’s A Cure. It’s to promote awareness and to educate people about HIV/AIDS.
Young Urban Voices: What is your biggest accomplishments in life?
Hydeia Broadbent: I know growing up I didn’t really have a relationship with my mom. I remember suffering from low self-esteem and depression from being in unhealthy relationships. So for me, the biggest accomplishments in life to date would just be, getting my mind right and working on my inner self so I can be a good person. I’d say that’s my biggest accomplishment because it takes a lot for a person to look in the mirror and say there are things about me that I don’t like and then correct those things. So that’ll be my biggest acomplishment.
Young Urban Voices: What was it like to appear on The Oprah Winfrey Show?
Hydeia Broadbent: They did an update show taping in January for the “Where are they know,” it was very fun. The response from the community was awesome.
“I’d like to encourage people to get tested for HIV and don’t think it can’t happen to you. HIV does not discriminate.”
You can reach out to Hydeia here http://www.hydeiabroadbent.com/