Hydeia Broadbent: Much More than Ordinary

Wednesday, 13 June 2012 00:35 Written by  Iya Bakare

Hydeia Broadbent gives the word ‘normal’ a new meaning in Webster’s dictionary. As a part of the first generation of children with AIDS, she vowed to make it her mission to spread awareness about the disease. At the age of six, the activist started to speak out about it nationally, only a few years after her adoptive parents were told by doctors she was HIV positive-advanced with AIDS. In 1987, Hydeia’s birth mother gave birth to another child, at which time both were tested for a virus few medical experts and people knew about, except they thought the disease was only prevalent among homosexual males and drug abusers.

From the beginning, the 27-year-old says her parents made the decision they weren’t going to hide anything from her or anyone else, but rather remain proactive.

“They wanted to know who wanted to be ignorant about it up front,” Hydeia comments. “My parents never wanted me to feel like I did anything wrong. It was similar to knowing I’m a girl and I’m black.”

Between routine doctor visits and staying in the hospital, Hydeia says the majority of her childhood was spent in the hospital. It wasn’t until her teen years she noticed how some treated her differently, as she fought the disease and spoke at various engagements, including the 1996 Republican National Convention.

“Some were scared of me, but I wasn’t going anywhere,” she recalls. “No part of my childhood was normal, but I was able to stay grounded because at home I was ‘Hydeia’. I had regular chores and had a regular upbringing.”

The Las Vegas-native describes herself as a “people activist,” although some see her as a celebrity. Hydeia says she grew up in a working class family with a father who owns a business, and like others, was affected by the economy. Like many, she continues to experience the negative effects of some programs that she can’t benefit from and hinder her from assistance with the expensive costs of medication and other medical expenses.

“As an adult, you see the costly effects of living with AIDS,” she adds. “Some days you have to sit on a toilet with a bucket in front of you because the side effects make it come out at both ends. You can’t just take a pill and what people need to understand is this disease is 100 percent preventable.”

Like any other young lady, Hydeia admits she had self-esteem issues about relationships, but says she balanced it out and knows as a woman what she will and won’t accept. Ignorance and complacency about HIV/AIDS are added to the list of things the activist won’t tolerate as she continues to speak nationally and hopes to travel all over the world.

“It’s time to wake up and do something about this,” Hydeia says. “God put me in a place where people need to pay attention. Know your status and get tested so you’re not spreading the disease.”

For more information on Hydeia and National Testing Day (June 27), visit her website at www.hydeiabroadbent.com and follow her on Twitter at @HydeiaBroadbent


Iya Bakare

Iya Bakare

Iya Bakare, GMO's managing editor, earned both her Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in print journalism. She earned her B.A. from Delta State University with a minor in English and graduated with a M.A. degree from Columbia College Chicago. In her spare time, the Chicago native continues to freelance and ponder ways to both inform and improve her community one story at a time.

She can be contacted at Iya@glossmagazineonline.com
Follow her on Twitter: @ibakare

Website: www.iyabakare.com