Woman living with HIV works to get rid of stereotypes

By Gregory Woods

HOLLY HILL, S. C. (WCIV) -- Red ribbons were the theme for World Aids Day at Solid Rock Outreach Ministries, in honor of member Monique Moree, who found out in 2005 that not even marriage can protect you from HIV.

"People think you are supposed to get HIV by someone who runs the streets, someone who was on drugs or unprotected sexbut I was a wife," she said. "When I was diagnosed with HIV I just thought it was a dream."

Soon after realizing her new reality, Moree started her own non-profit, Monique's Hope For A Cure, at her church to help dispel the stereotypes associated with HIV and AIDS.

"When I found out my sister had HIV I was like, 'Okay, can I touch her?'" said Elder Donald Howell Jr.

Moree said that is just one of the many questions and misconceptions associated with people living with HIV or AIDS.

"People think you can't hug someone with HIV, you can't touch them, they think you can't eat from them," she said."But we are individuals who still deserve happiness and we still deserve to be loved like anybody else."

It was Moree's passion that encouraged the church to take her message beyond the pulpit.

"Holly Hill, we are just a blimp on the map, but, maybe, with the movement that she is doing it will affect a lot of people around here and people will get tested and get more knowledge and understanding of it," said Howell, Moree's older brother.

It's awareness supported by scripture at Solid Rock Outreach Ministries, on behalf of Monique Moree.

"Jesus said this commandment I give you is that you love one another and that you don't judge," said evangelist Connie Portee.

Lowcountry AIDS Services is offering free HIV testing Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m until 2 p.m.

The nonprofit is located at 3547 Meeting Street Road in Charleston. You can also call (843) 747-2273 to set up an appointment.


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