ABWW Heroine of the Day: Rae Lewis-Thornton

In 1986, during a routine blood drive visit at a Washington D.C. Red Cross, Rae received news of another word that would soon be used to describe her health and future. At 23, Rae Lewis-Thornton was diagnosed HIV Positive.

Despite her present day status of having full-blown AIDS (ACQUIRED Immune-deficiency Syndrome), Rae Lewis-Thornton leads her own unending crusade to educate and challenge young and old audiences to take control of their own bodies, futures and health. Rae uses her life as an example that AIDS is a non-discriminatory disease. She challenges the most common myths and stereotypes surrounding who and how one can become infected with the HIV virus that most often results in AIDS and death. In doing this, she incorporates her own oratory skills, personal experiences and unyielding honesty to create and disseminate her critical and deadly message of her own day by day, personal destruction by AIDS.

Lewis-Thornton’s message to her audiences was blunt: if they believed that they were immune from exposure to AIDS because they were young, well-dressed and educated, or because they were Christian, or because they had never used drugs, or were heterosexual, or did not sleep around, then she was witness to the fact that they were wrong, because all those things were true of her, and she still contracted AIDS. She warned her audiences that they were responsible for protecting themselves from AIDS. That meant always using a condom when they had sex, no matter how attractive and middle-class their partner seemed. As she told Jet, “People still don’t know what AIDS looks like … The face of AIDS is not always a visible face.”
Visit her website at Rae Lewis-Thornton – A Diva Living With Aids

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