From Our Founder
I was compelled to organize SEEDS of Healing after a personal experience and working as a nurse caring for persons affected by HIV since I began my career. I had witnessed the trajectory of this epidemic from a time when patients arrived for end-life care at an all-AIDS skilled nursing facility to now when persons living with HIV have the same life expectancy as those who are not HIV positive and are cared for in the outpatient setting. Unfortunately, despite the triumphs for effective treatment of HIV, certain groups and communities still have higher rates of HIV transmission and failed viral suppression while being linked to care.
In 1998, my mother, known as “Pumpkin,” succumbed to advanced HIV complications after knowing and having the untreated illness for at least eight years. Women comprise at least one-fourth of all people living with HIV in the United States. Yet, less than one-half of the women informed about their HIV status, like Pumpkin, have their virus under control. In other words, these women may not seek routine medical care to
manage their health.
SEEDS of Healing centers the most intimate projects around cisgender Black women. Black women with HIV in the south face intersection marginalization of sex, race, and lack of healthcare access due to structural and societal discrimination and stigma. Cisgender Black women are unrepresented in HIV prevention strategies and research.
This contributes to continued risk for transmission of HIV and poorer health outcomes. For this reason, SEEDS of Healing provides a community for Black women that are culturally tailored and fosters resilience with peer-to-peer support.
Dr. LeShonda Wallace, Ph.D., FNP-BC, FAAN
Founder & Executive Director