Hydeia Broadbent was only 3-years-old when she was thrown into the spotlight after being diagnosed with HIV. Her chubby cheeks and high-pitched voice would become synonymous with the infection a few years later, when she became a young activist, speaking out about her struggle with HIV/AIDS.
And now, with news that a baby who was born with HIV had been “cured,” Broadbent is reflecting on her own past and how a cure might have made her life very different.
“I’ve had brain infections, blood infections,” she said. “I once had an infection that my doctor hadn’t heard of since medical school.”
But with a cure, she says, things would have been much easier. After all, she said, kids just want to be kids.
“I wouldn’t have to go to the hospital so much. And I’d be pill-free, which would be a blessing,” she said.
When Broadbent was just a little girl she became the voice for HIV/AIDS, and she still upholds that position as an activist for the stigmatized infection. But when she was diagnosed back in 1987, there were only 159 Americans that had been identified as having the corroding immune system deficiency.
“My mom signed me up for a trial,” said Broadbent, now a 28-year-old HIV and AIDS activist. “She knew that was my only hope. She knew the doctors would look at me really carefully, so that’s what we did.”
But even as a “guinea pig” for treatment, Broadbent isn’t so sure about testing on babies and children, like herself or even the miracle baby that was supposedly “cured.”
“I don’t know how I feel about testing on children,” she said. “I think all pregnant women should be tested and treated. Hopefully it will become mandatory and routine, so there will be no more children born with HIV. That’s very possible.”
We’re glad to see Broadbent is a healthy, young woman still trucking on despite her condition. Much love to her for still speaking about HIV/AIDS awareness!