Lynnette and Daniel

Lynnette

In 2008, after a routine medical exam, my entire life changed. I tested positive for HIV. In that moment, I felt like the world stopped.

I remember thinking, ‘How long do I have left before my children become orphans?’ I decided I would go home, stay in bed and wait to die. I didn’t have a strong faith in God back then, but somehow He helped to lift me off the bed. He told me my children needed me and that became my motivation to push forward. When I met Daniel, he was incredibly supportive. I took him to the doctor with me to learn about being safe in a serodiscordant relationship. We made the informed choice to have a baby together. We followed everything the doctor told us and our son Koa was born HIV negative. We share this story because there are so many misconceptions about the things an HIV-positive person can and cannot do. I came to FIGHT through the Faith Initiatives program. FIGHT has helped to educate me about HIV and how to support other people affected by the virus through faith and ministry. This organization has

helped me solidify my purpose and shown me where I am needed in the HIV community. FIGHT is more than just a place of business; it’s a family. I am so thrilled to be part of the family now. I want people to see that HIV doesn’t have to place limitations on life. It doesn’t define how you live, who you love, or how you view yourself. I hope to empower people, particularly women, who don’t feel strong enough to share their own stories. They need to hear it from me because if they do, they will understand what hope looks like and know that they can make it through.

HIV doesn’t have to place limitations on life. It doesn’t have to define how you live, who you love, or how you view yourself.

Daniel

Lynette and I were friends for years before we got married. When she was diagnosed with HIV a month after we met, I wanted to be there for her in every way possible. I didn’t ask her a million questions; I knew that it was most important for me to just be present with her in that moment. We married in 2013 and I have learned so much about love and true partnership from her. Between the two of us, we have 11 fantastic children. Nothing makes me happier than seeing our beautiful blended family together. It’s like a fairy tale. When you meet Lynette, you can’t help but feel her spirit. Nobody is ever the same after they hear her speak. She is so strong and inspiring and has helped make me a better person. I’m a man of strong faith and I believe that there is salvation in transparency. By sharing our story, we can save lives, because someone else may be going through something even worse, and may be inspired or motivated to see how we overcame our situation. I would recommend everyone walk through FIGHT’s doors at least once in your life. It’s inclusive of everyone, no matter if you’re HIV positive or negative or whatever you’re going through, there are so many incredible people who really care. It’s a place of healing in so many different aspects. As for my family situation now, it transcends HIV and AIDS. Whenever people look at us in a negative way, or think that no one wants to be around us, we’re living proof that isn’t true. There is still a lot of fear and stigma around HIV. There is no reason to hide our heads in the sand about any of this. It’s not like you’re less of a person. My wife is amazing. My children are amazing. We have an amazing family together. HIV doesn’t change any of that.

My wife is amazing. My children are amazing. We have an amazing family together. HIV doesn’t change any of that.

Spotlight On

Karam Mounzer, MD

Dr. Mounzer identified two major gaps in the care of patients with HIV/hepatitis C (HCV) co-infection, and the complexity of multidrug-resistant HIV treatment. He is involved with many clinical trials focusing on drug development and better understanding of HIV immunopathogenesis with the Wistar Institute. He is involved in teaching and mentoring fellows, residents and students.

Learn More about Spotlight On
Dr. Karam Mounzer

Dr. Mario Cruz

Dr. Cruz is a board certified pediatrician who joins Philadelphia FIGHT as the Medical Director for our Pediatrics and Adolescent Health Center. He completed his undergraduate training in Biology and Psychology from Union College, his medical school training at Albany Medical College, his residency training at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, and his Chief Residency at the Albert Einstein Medical Center


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