"A symbol of empowerment to represent the strength and courage of women affected by HIV/AIDS." — The Red Pump Project

“A symbol of empowerment to represent the strength and courage of women affected by HIV/AIDS.” — The Red Pump Project

Today is National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. To commemorate the observance, Awesomely Luvvie blogger Luvvie Ajayi and Karyn Brianne (Watkins) Lee and started the Red Pump Project in March 2009 to encourage women to use their words and actions to focus on “HIV prevention and issues related to sexual and reproductive health.”

“We use the red pump as a symbol of empowerment to represent the strength and courage of women affected by HIV/AIDS,” they said. “We believe that if HIV affects one, it affects us all.”

As part of the #RocktheRedPump campaign, the nonprofit is also encouraging women to wear red shoes from pumps to sneakers, upload photos to social media and share testimonials about HIV/AIDS.

Fierce is also sharing timeless tips from Dazon Dixon Diallo, M.P.H., is the president and CEO of SisterLove Inc. Since 1989, the Atlanta-based organization has fought against the threat of HIV/AIDS among women through education and advocacy for better prevention, treatment and care.

“The SisterLove Healthy Love intervention was created to give women the tools they need to make safe sex a healthy, normal part of their love lives,” says Diallo, who encourages women to:

  • Put yourself first. Never be afraid or apologetic about asking your partner to use a condom.
  • Celebrate your sexuality, and normalize how you think and talk about sex. You can’t be comfortable discussing your needs and protection unless you are open and honest about desire and having a healthy sex life.
  • Never make your safety someone else’s responsibility. Get the information and the tools you need; don’t wait for someone else to supply a condom or to get tested.
  • Know your partner’s HIV status — and I mean you need to see it on paper. (Find a testing center near you.}
  • Be creative about safe sex. Putting on a condom, for example, can be part of foreplay.
  • Get real. Married women should also realize that being married may be their most significant HIV/AIDS risk factor, because they are unlikely to think about safe sex — they should. One of the most important tools in a marriage is building a relationship in which you and your partner can talk openly about fidelity and protecting each other. It’s a tough conversation, but it’s one you really must have.

#RocktheRedPump for #NWGHAAD

Share your stories, talk about testing and show off your red shoes. Use the hashtags #RocktheRedPump and #NWGHAAD. Share on Twitter: @Fierceforbw, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, Facebook.