I am 28. White. A Female. And a former Peace Corps Volunteer. I am HIV Positive. This is my story of how a few months, a few people, and a few events in Zambia changed me and my life forever. This is the story of how I contracted HIV and brought my Peace Corps Journey to a crashing halt... and how I am working now to pick up and put back together the pieces of my life as a newly diagnosed person living with HIV. This was not the journey I had originally planned... my path has traumatically and dramatically changed... but it is the one I am on now. There is no going back. There is only forward. I welcome you to follow along with me as I attempt to explore this new life ahead of me, whether you are someone from the Peace Corps community, or someone living with HIV. I welcome your comments, questions, suggestions, and opinions. Let us go forward together. To start from the beginning, click here He Gave Me More Than A Bracelet.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Project Hopeful: Truth Pandemic

My sister shared a website and video with me last week, and I was a bit delayed in watching it. But, now that I have watched it, I think it is necessary that so many more also watch it.

Project Hopeful is an organization that strives to spread education and awareness about HIV, and to assist American families in adopting children who are HIV+. Their website and video provides such good information about HIV, stigma, and the idea of welcoming a HIV+ child into your family.

Please take some time to watch the video, whether you are interested in adopting, or if you are just open to learning more about HIV.

After watching the video, take some time to explore the Project Hopeful Website, including the "Waiting Kids" section. Also, read this article about the founders and their family.


  1. Wow! Check out the Media section of the website to watch more amazing videos!

  2. Sooo glad u posted this! I knew you'd love it! That's why I kept bugging u about it! Love you!

  3. Hi,
    I'm a PCV in Armenia that just came across your blog. You're doing an incredibly important and courageous thing by sharing your story. Please keep it up! Best of luck in health and healing.

  4. Great video, thanks for sharing!

  5. Dear Jessica,

    A colleague at USG Zambia shared your blog with me (I've just returned from a post at USG in South Africa) and it brought tears to my eyes. You have gone through so much and shown so much courage to a) survive this and b) share your story publicly. I read through your entire blog, and was so sad to see several judgmental, negative, heartless and racist comments. You have nothing to be ashamed of. In fact you should be proud that you chose to live a life of service in an incredibly difficult setting. Now you have the power to make a huge difference, if you choose to, by educating others who think HIV is just something that happens to black, poor, or promiscuous people.

    I was working for USG on gender-based violence, and interacted with Peace Corps in South Africa a few times. I can't be sure, but from what I know of other PCVs, I don't think PC offers enough support or education to volunteers on the risks of living and working in Africa. I was a victim of violence a few times there, and it made me wonder about the safety of much younger PCVs living in remote villages. I read the stories of PCVs in other countries who were raped and received no support from PC and was appalled. I offered to do a training for PCVs in SA on sexual assault, but was refused, and actually got in trouble for stating in a report that they need to do more given the incidence of sexual assault on PCVs in Africa. (It was actually redacted!)

    I can't tell from your blog if PC supported you, but I hope so. If not, I hope you will work to make sure they support future volunteers.

    Thank you for sharing your story. If I may share one more site that you may enjoy checking out, my friend started the organization Hope's Voice, and here's their great campaign: www.doeshivlooklikeme.org.

  6. Touching. Courageous. Incredibly informative. Thank you.

    1. (in regard to your entire blog)