All Grown Up
BY Benjamin Ryan
November 18 2010 5:00 AM ET
“Nobody really prepared me for the future,” she explains. “They didn’t think I would live that long, truthfully.”
The conflict over the financial side of their mutual efforts to fight HIV has fractured Broadbent’s relationship with, in her words, “the woman who raised me.”
These difficulties have opened Broadbent’s eyes to what she sees as a pressing problem in African-American family life. She worries that many other black women have troubled relationships with their mothers and that this has grave implications for the spread of HIV.
“So you go outside of the home looking for love,” she explains. “You sometimes put yourself in a position where you’re allowing a man to disrespect you, belittle you. Or you’re sleeping with man after man after man to try to fill that void that is missing.”
In addition to plans to push for legislation requiring doctors to offer HIV screening to pregnant women, she hopes to find a way to hold forums that will open a dialogue about African-American mothers and daughters.
But meanwhile, she’s simply grateful for the chance to have her say.
“Even though it’s a struggle, my life has been a blessing,” she says, “because I’ve had the opportunity to work with so many different people and share my story with people. I’ve never really had days where I said, ‘Why me?’ Because I’m able to talk, I have a great relationship, I’m dating somebody who knows my status, who loves me. I’m not depressed about having AIDS at all.”