SEEDS (Sustaining Empowerment by Educating and Developing Sisters) of Healing, Inc. (SOH) mission is to deconstruct myths that perpetuate HIV stigma, to generate support for people living with or affected by HIV, and to eliminate disparities in HIV outcomes for women.
Women comprise 18% of all people living with HIV in the United States. HIV is most commonly transmitted to women through risky sex behaviors in heterosexual interactions. HIV transmission through sharing needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment are additional risk (CDC, 2021).
HIV/AIDS disproportionately impacts cis-gendered Black women. The incidence rate for Black women with an HIV diagnosis is 11 times the rate for White women and four times the rate for Hispanic/Latino women (CDC, 2021). For this reason, SOH initiatives facilitate HIV education, HIV screening, linkage to care, and strategies to retain and engage Black women in their care to achieve and sustain viral suppression. Also, SOH provides HIV counseling, testing, and referral (CTR) to everyone and prioritizes outreach to the LGBTQ+ community, another marginalized population impacted by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
To end the HIV epidemic by eliminating transmission and for all people living with HIV to live productive and healthy lives free from stigma.
SEEDS of Healing was established in 2016 in memory of Luwana Daniels, aka "Pumpkin." SEEDS (Sustaining Empowerment by Educating and Developing Sisters) is a rightful acronym. It describes our most intimate work that promotes resilience and healing.
Pumpkin, a single mother, was diagnosed with HIV in 1990 and did not seek medical care until six years after becoming increasingly ill. Unfortunately, this unfortunate occurrence is common for many women still today. Pumpkin was a born-again Christian and faithful believer in God’s grace for healing. Yet, six years before starting HIV care, Pumpkin isolated herself, experienced depression, and felt embarrassed and ashamed. Pumpkin relied only upon spiritual faith and holistic remedies for the healing of HIV.
Pumpkin was also living with the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), which she was unaware of until she eventually established medical care for HIV. Unfortunately, after initiating treatment in 1996, Pumpkin succumbed to health complications from having prolonged and untreated HIV and HCV by 1998. Through it all, Pumpkin raised her two daughters, Aminah and LeShonda, earned a college degree, and was an intercessor for those seeking Christ and matriarch to her family.