Wed | Apr 24, 2019

Nacia Davis – scorned but determined (Pt2)

Published:Saturday | March 23, 2019 | 11:48 AM

Steadfast on her journey to ensure that other people (especially women) living with HIV (PLHIV) are spared the disdain that she has been unfortunately exposed to over the years, Nacia Davis is working overtime to poison the belief that PLHIV are ‘abnormal’.

Davis told Family & Religion that in addition to sharing the knowledge garnered during her time at the AIDS2018 Conference in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, in July 2018, she has been using the information to draft a business plan.

“I am planning on starting a charity to reach youths in school and out of school (dropouts) who are not infected with STIs (sexually transmitted infections) but are at potential risk – vulnerable, so to speak.

“I do believe that other opportunities will present themselves for me to use this information other than the aforementioned and online debates,” she said.

Davis, who was diagnosed in 2012 following the birth of her second child, explained that though she was distraught by the news, her main concern at the time was the health of her child.

“At the time of his birth, he was troubled with terrible eczema, and I was petrified each time I had to take him for blood tests to determine if he had been infected.

“I was out of touch with this world. At the time, I saw my world falling apart right in front of me. I was bombarded with negative thoughts of suicide, intrapersonal conflicts of where I am and where I wanted to be but won’t be despite all I had hoped for. This continued for two years, which was when I got the final diagnosis (HIV-negative) for my son,” she said. Following this news she came to accept her diagnosis.

With a reformed mindset now, some seven years later, the activist shared that at the onset of her health verdict, she was introduced to EVE for Life, which, she admitted, was quite instrumental to where she is now mentally.

“The support system there is one of the best for young women infected with or affected by HIV.

“After the final diagnosis of my son, I began doing additional research outside of what the doctor was telling me, and that deepened my understanding of my condition. Treatment literacy has been one of the foundations for my acceptance. Adherence leading to U=U (undetectable=untransmittable) has made me think to myself, ‘Hey, this thing isn’t as bad as I once thought’,” she said.

In response to questions about the scope of her advocacy, the 27-year-old woman said, “I have come to the conclusion that, just maybe, entities I have been engaged with are more conflicting than they portray in their mandate.

“For now, I am using ‘blogvocacy’ as my tool of advocating and more one-on-one experiences/challenges.

“However, I do believe that once I have started putting in some actual work towards my charitable organisation, my advocacy will be more at a national, regional and international level. Who knows? Maybe I will be helping the UN (United Nations) to draft policies and represent YWHIV in Parliament when legislation are being drafted.

“Legal and treatment challenges surrounding PLHIV continue to plague us, and that is what I will be tackling” she said.

Davis, who recently completed a contract with South East Regional Health Authority as a community peer educator for HIV prevention and control, told Family & Religion that she is currently unemployed but is focusing on content development for her blog, ‘I AM’, which is located on the WordPress platform.

The mother of five admitted that she feels no shame in publicly sharing her experiences, especially if lives around her are benefiting.

“I want to be selfish with HIV,” Davis laughed.

Continuing on the same point, she said, “[It] sounds crazy, I know, but let me keep it to myself. Those of us infected should embrace this ‘gift’ and protect it. Some things just aren’t meant to be shared.”

familyandreligion@gleanerjm.com