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.
This article is from Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Lee and Lucas are ambassadors for the foundation.
My name is Lucas, and I have a brother named Lee. We’re both 11 years old and are living with HIV. We didn’t know we were HIV-positive until one day last summer, when my mom told us why we had to take so much medicine and why we went to the doctor so often.
I dream of a world free of HIV so no other kids have to become a victim of this virus.
You can order holiday cards designed by Lee and Lucas to benefit the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
This is Olivia, one of the precious little ones I met at an AIDS Orphanage in the spring. She is darling! She is affectionate and loving and talkative and sweet as can be. And she has a family coming for her! I’m so excited that Olivia will know the love of a family and have access to excellent medical care. Her parents have been diligently raising funds and compiling the adoption paperwork and they have just reached a major milestone – submitting the final dossier to Olivia’s country. From their blog:
This sweet little 3 year old is Olivia. She currently lives in an Eastern Europe orphanage for children who are diagnosed with HIV. Olivia does not have a future in her native country due to her orphan status and her diagnosis. At the age of 4 she will be sent off to a “boarding school.” When she ages out at the age of 16, she will be kicked out and left to fend for herself on the streets. Sadly, many emancipated orphans end up sleeping in the sewers. She will be jobless and homeless as her HIV and Orphan status will follow her forever. She has no family to take care of her and no means to pay for the very expensive medications that will keep her alive and healthy.
We are very blessed in our country to have wonderful medical care and medications. HIV is not a death sentence. It can easily be managed here in the US. Olivia can live to old age and have grand children some day. There is no risk to other children around her at school, sports, or at home. She can share a cupcake with her brother and he can kiss her when she is feeling sad. Please look at her picture, can you see her on the streets? Or can you picture her in a loving family with critters to chase and acres of woods to explore? She will enrich the lives of those around her and she will help us squash the stigma that HIV still carries to this day.
Our family decided to adopt after we suffered our last pregnancy loss. We were drawn to the children on Reece’s Rainbow and in particular, the children with HIV. We fell in love with little Olivia and committed to adopt her. We have $7k left to raise friends, and we need to ask for help. Feel free to post our blog link anywhere, or copy and paste our CHIP IN button and put it on your blog. You can even make a tax deductible donation thru Reece’s Rainbow (www.reecesrainbow.org/sponsorstern.htm).
Congratulations to this family on bringing their baby girl home from Ethiopia. They waited a long time for their baby and I’m sure she is worth the wait. She is so beyond adorable!