Brison Edwards is a heavy supporter of promoting sexual health.
He is the digital content and operations strategist for SisterLove, a one-stop shop for sexual health. At Gilead‘s Community Conversation with Kandi Burruss and Dazon Dixon Diallo at The Gathering Spot in Atlanta, Edwards spoke to rolling out about the organization.
SisterLove offers free STD and STI testing, but what else do you offer?
In-person testing. We also provide at-home test kits, self-test kits for people, telehealth appointments, links to care for a variety of sexual health issues. We also do a lot of policy and advocacy work. So, changing the conversation at the federal level legally. But also culturally, how do people discuss these issues? Destigmatization is huge for us. We have an intersectional approach, we recognize if you have HIV, there’s also an aspect of complexity that’s added by other categories of identities, right? So if you’re a woman, or you’re a trans person, or gender non-conforming, and you have HIV or are at risk for it, you’re going to have a totally different experience than another person, right? If we really want to make an impact, we have to account for them.
What are some of the common misconceptions about people who have STDs or are HIV-positive?
The biggest misconception about HIV is that it’s a death sentence. It’s not. Assuming the person can have their status identified in time, and they can get the linkage to care they deserve as a human being without restriction, then yeah, it’s not a death sentence. It’s something where you can have a very long and happy, productive life. Another big misconception is, if you have an STI or an STD, there’s some kind of immorality involved there. We have this concept that you’re almost being punished or something, or that it’s been because of bad behavior. That’s not the case at all. It’s like any other communicable disease, you know? We’re going back to that destigmatization. It’s really an important aspect of doing any kind of public health work with sexual health.
Where can people find you or SisterLove on social media?
The first place you want to look us up is online at sisterlove.org. You can also find us on all social media platforms, TikTok, Instagram, etc., at SisterLoveInc. all together.