Before Ciarra Covin was diagnosed with HIV in 2008, medications called PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) that prevent HIV infection didn’t exist.

As a college student in rural Georgia, Covin found out she had HIV after going to the school’s health clinic for birth control. Upon learning her positive status, her first thought was, “Will I be able to have children one day?”

Her doctor, who was white, offered little comfort. “I asked him if I could have kids, and his response, to this little Black girl in the office by herself, was, just as long as I realized that my children were going to be orphans.”

The experience made her determined to combat misinformation like the kind she had received from that doctor — and to provide education and emotional support to others. Now the mother of an 11-year-old son and 6-month-old daughter, Covin works for The Well Project, a nonprofit focused on helping women and girls living with HIV and those at risk of contracting it.

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