‘I was born with AIDS’

Public speaker Hydeia Broadbent spoke about her experience dealing with AIDS and preventing HIV in the Kiva on Feb. 8. Photo by Adrianne Bastas.

Public speaker Hydeia Broadbent spoke about her experience dealing with AIDS and preventing HIV in the Kiva on Feb. 8. Photo by Adrianne Bastas.

Haley Phillippi

KentWired Video

var so = new SWFObject(‘http://www.staterinteractive.com/player.swf’,’mpl’,’665′,’450′,’9′);





Hydeia Broadbent stood at the podium looking exuberantly out toward the audience.

“My name is Hydeia, I’m 27 and I was born with AIDS,” Broadbent said. “The same disease I have is the same disease I’ve almost died from three times, it’s the same disease you can get if you don’t make wise sexual choices.”

In the late ‘80s an AIDS epidemic spread and people were dying because there was no medication. The National Institute of Health was doing a protocol on people who had AIDS in the early ‘80s and Broadbent became a human guinea pig.

“I don’t regret any of the tests or surgeries (because) the medicine that is on the market today is the medicine we got tested for,” the activist said.

According to Broadbent every nine and a half minutes a person contracts HIV. One in five aren’t aware and two out of the five are women. Funding for AIDS medication reached an ultimate low at the end of 2011, with nearly 10,000 people waiting for funds for the medicine.

“AIDS is something that happened to me, but it doesn’t define who I am,” she said. Broadbent explained to the audience that this disease is something everyone needs to start talking about in order to put a stop to it.

“It’s important you know your status, it’s important that you talk to your sexual partner about getting tested together,” Broadbent said.

Broadbent said her biggest challenge was in 2011 when she didn’t have health insurance, because she couldn’t afford her medication. “Once you contract HIV/AIDS there’s no going back,” Broadbent said.

She wants people to know that AIDS is not a gay disease; it’s a people’s disease. Kent State University offers an AIDS class for people to further their knowledge on this disease.

Her goals for her future are to get into TV production and produce specials on HIV/AIDS. She would also like to open a clinic in her home of Las Vegas, Nevada that offers free testing to the public.

“Events like this is what really matters to me, honestly is really the way to go,” Broadbent said. The activist hopes that someday there will be a cure for this disease and said she thinks we’re getting closer.

The university health center will be offering free confidential HIV testing Feb. 9. Testing is open to students, faculty and staff. Call 330-672-2320 to make an appointment.

Contact Haley Phillippi at [email protected] .