I interviewed Hydeia Broadbent and published the post on my old blog in February 2009. It’s not an active link anymore so I’m republishing the interview here with a few extras.
Interview With Hydeia Broadbent
Hydeia ~ Thank you so much for this opportunity to interview you. I admire you and your family so much. Your story is fascinating to me, as this website is all about finding homes, families and sponsorship for children with HIV/AIDS. To my knowledge, you may have been one of the very first babies in the United States born with HIV and adopted. What year were you born? Also, do you or did you know of any others born before you who had HIV and were adopted or fostered?
I was born in 1984 to a woman who was addicted to intravenous drugs. I was left in the hospital and turned over to the state of Nevada. My family was told I was the first child born with HIV in the state of Nevada. I don’t know of any children born before me who were adopted. My mother worked together with parents of children born after me to start a daycare center for children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.
You and your family have been very open about your HIV status since you were first born, which was extremely rare in the 1980s and 1990s. Did you ever feel upset that your parents didn’t give you a ‘choice’ about disclosure?
I feel my parents made the right choice because I’ve seen so many kids my age dealing with depression and trying to cover up lies because they were keeping secrets about why they were at the hospital or why they were taking medicine. Being public showed our family who was loyal and which friends weren’t quite as trustworthy. Take me as I am! Being public made it easier for me as an adult dealing with dating because I never had to sit someone down and have the “ I have AIDS speech.” They already knew what they were getting into…well somewhat!
For me growing up, I really did not face any problems which I can remember. My mother and father dealt with some things, like my kindergarten teacher spraying me with bleach because I sneezed and she mistakenly thought the virus was air born! In another incident, people changed seats on an airplane because I told them I had AIDS after they nosily asked why I was taking medicine. My mother played it off and said “oh look we have an extra seat – now we can stretch out and get some sleep”. My parents never made a big deal of things when people were acting weird because they did not want me to feel like something was wrong with me.
My prognosis now if fine; I just have to take care of myself and stay on top of my medicine and eat well. When I was three, the doctors told my parents I would not make it past the age of five! I even coded blue a few times, but after living past what the doctors feared would be my final days, we decided that no one really knows when your time is up until your time is up.
Hydeia Broadbent was one of the earliest pediatric HIV patients at a time when only a handful of children had the infection. At the time, AIDS was just being named and HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, had not yet been discovered. To date, about 9,000 children have contracted the virus from their mothers in the United States and more than 2.3 million worldwide. Hydeia is a living testament to the incredible progess that has been made in HIV research and treatment. More information about Hydeia’s life can be found in the mother/daughter memoir You Get Past The Tears (synopsis) and you can also see her on Extreme Home Makeover. She can be reached through HydeiaBroadbent.com. Many thanks to Ms. Broadbent for her time and for her honesty and insight. I hope that this interview will show the excellent quality of life of people born with HIV and lead some adults to a child with HIV in need of parental care.
Here are the extras:
- Hydeia on Twitter
- Hydeia on Facebook
- Hydeia on CNN
- Hydeia Broadbent – HIV/AIDS Activist Video
- I would have loved to link to the video of Hydeia and Magic Johnson on a Nickelodean show when she was very little and the Extreme Home Makeover edition she was on, but I can’t seem to find either of those online anymore.