Hydeia Broadbent: “Living With HIV/AIDS is No Death Sentence”

Despite being born with AIDS, the 26-year-old activist continues to live life to the fullest while informing others about the disease.

Broadbent: Born with AIDS and a will to live

International HIV/AIDS activist and motivational speaker, Hydeia Broadbent, didn’t choose her career path, it chose her. Abandoned by her drug-addicted biological mom, Broadbent, who was born HIV positive, has turned what many might have considered a tragic tale into a triumphant one, dedicating her life to helping keep others from getting infected.

Since the age of six the Las Vegas native–who was adopted as an infant–has been a renowned public speaker, traveling to universities like Duke, UCLA and Howard, and appearing on such television programs as The Oprah Winfrey Show, 20/20 and Good Morning America to warn teens and young adults about the dangers of unsafe sex.

In March of 2010, Broadbent teamed up with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help launch a new social media initiative called “I Know.” Its purpose is to encourage African Americans ages 18-24 to talk openly about HIV, to know their status and to get tested. The campaign features public service announcements starring celebrities such as Jamie Foxx and Ludacris, and utilizes social media outlets like FaceBook and Twitter to get the word out.

Broadbent says it’s critical for young people to understand that HIV changes your life.

“I lead a pretty normal life but the medicine that helps keep me healthy is very expensive,” says the activist, who relies on the state to foot the enormous bill. “Nowadays kids don’t see HIV as a death sentence. Some of them know people with HIV and assume it’s as easy as popping some pills every now and then. It’s not; each pill I take costs $750.”

The money is just one of Broadbent’s many hardships.

“The medication can also make you really sick,” admits the 26-year-old, who says she spends more time than she’d like inside a doctor’s office. Broadbent also points to the lingering stigma around having HIV/AIDS and says despite having an active social life, dating isn’t easy. “I was once in love with someone who wasn’t strong enough to deal with me having AIDS,” she shares. “That affected me a lot because AIDS is part of me.”

“People sometimes think because I was born with HIV my story does not apply to them,” she adds. “But I’ve had it all my life. Who better to tell you about the disease than someone who has never lived a day without it? My message to young people is that having HIV affects you mind, body and soul. It’s not a death sentence but it does make things a whole lot more complicated.”

  • Meaux

    Hydeia I have prayed for you and your mother ever since I saw you on Geraldo when you were eight. Thank you BE for featuring this beautiful, articulate, courageous woman. Continued blessing for you.

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  • Hydeia, we share a name, so my prayers are with you and for you always. I was a kid myself when I first saw you on Oprah years ago. I couldn’t believe I heard my name on TV, then as I watched the story unfold with my mother, I became somber. I have always kept you in the back of my mind, hoping you were okay and look at you, YOU MADE IT, an amazing testimony of God’s power. Keep praying and keep pushing mama, our name means God’s gift, be that to all that you encounter. You are empowering, beautiful, strong, and courageous! Be Blessed!

  • This young lady is strong, courageous, and a inspiration to all. In life there are some illness that we don’t ask for or want. When we are told what we have, it is up to us with the support of family and friends to be there for in the up hill battle with living life. Ms. Hydeia message is a message for all women and men. I praise her for her insight and words of wisdom and knowledge. Keep spreading your message Hydeia. We can either be blind, ignorant, or hopeless in the things we face in life. God, allows people to live beyond the doctors expectation for a reason. He has given you 26 season and I believe that he will continue to give you more season to come in this life. God bless…… Life your life to the fullest and God will take care of the rest.

  • Earline Bentley

    Young lady, I think you’re very blessed and very brave. Keep your faith in God and you’ll always be fine.!!!!

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  • valerie vizcarrondo conse

    iv been watching this child since she was a little girl god bless her i remember when there was a little white boy  who apperd on the jerry sringer show  the next time i saw  the show the little boy died god bless him then i remember she was on the murry show where he gave  HYDEIA a beautiful bracelet from tiffanys she really a joy to no that this young lady is doing well last time i read that her adopted mother was ill i hope an pray she is well 

  • Kathy

    Thank God. You are not just alive, but living. I have thought of you often…ever since seeing your story when you were just 6 or 7.
    Continue to live life like you mean it!

  • Tanya

    I remember you, Hydeia, I am so glad to see you Beautiful and Strong. Stay Positive —-you will always be in my prayers!!!


  • Minister Tommy L Moore

    I have three teenaged daughters that i wish that you could give a word of wisdom to. One of them is very much out of hand, and i’m afraid for her. they are friends on facebook, and if you send a message i’ll be sure that get it. Thanks for your contribution to this country, and the entire human race.

  • Minister Tommy L Moore

    I have three teenaged daughters that i wish that you could give a word of wisdom to. One of them is very much out of hand, and i’m afraid for her. they are friends on facebook, and if you send a message i’ll be sure that get it.

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  • Jesse fagin

    i have been thinking bout u and ur messege since i was 10 (wen i first heard u speak) i jus wanted to say THANK YOU, you have been with me in my head with every sexual act i made if i was thinking i didnt need protection. It was ur courage that gave me strenght to say yes, i do need a condom, because it starts with me and im responsible for my decisions so i jus want to say i dnt know about anyone else but you surely have influenced me. GOD BLESS

  • KEKE