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Saturday, August 02, 2008

Activism: Sisters Doin' It For Themselves

and their community. Bambi Gaddist is a determined AIDS activist in her community of Columbia, in South Carolina. For the past 20 years, she's been working on the AIDS issue, running a mobile testing center. Founder of the South Carolina AIDS/HIV, Gaddist has brought free confidential HIV testing to people throughout South Carolina.
Gaddist says the face of AIDS has changed since the mid-1980s, when she helped run one of the first grass-roots AIDS awareness campaigns in Columbia, South Carolina, while pursuing her doctorate in public health.

"In the '80s, HIV was seen as a gay, white male disease," Gaddist said. "Here in South Carolina, it became an African-American disease."

In 2006, African-Americans accounted for 76 percent of the new AIDS cases diagnosed in South Carolina, and the state ranked ninth in the nation for those living with the disease, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
What a woman! She plans to keep fighting against the web of ignorance and shame that helps the spread of AIDS. Says Gaddist:
"When it's my time, I want my obituary to say that I have made a difference for someone and that I saved somebody's life."

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