[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/01/art.ypwr.brown.jpg
caption=”Marvelyn Brown, 24, wrote ‘The Naked Truth: Young, Beautiful and (HIV) Positive'”]
She went through hell alone. Her family made her use paper plates and plastic forks when she ate. At 19, she slept in her car. When Marvelyn Brown was diagnosed with HIV, she not only contracted a virus, she got the stigma that goes along with it.
But, this former track star sprinted past the misconceptions associated with the virus, the sterotypes and the fear. Marvelyn would rather live her life like a marathon, talking with and educating young people about the disease. She wrote the book, “The Naked Truth: Young, Beautiful, and (HIV) Positive,” using the parenthesis there on purpose.
Almost 30 years after the disease was first reported, Marvelyn deals with the stereotypes everyday while keeping a positive outlook. “We exist in a world where we continue to define the disease as only affecting people with a certain look or belonging to a certain socioeconomic group. I’m living proof that nothing is farther from the truth,” she says. Especially now around Black Aids Day, Marvelyn wants to prevent young women from having unprotected sex, and if they make the mistake once like she did, they don’t have to go through the same thing she did socially and emotionally.
Update: Watch the CNN.com Live interview