Author: M. G.
Rebekka Armstrong was a Playmate during the eighties and was on the Playboy cover in September 1986. In 1994 she was also the first Playmate ever coming out as HIV+, with a cover story in The Advocate magazine. From this moment on, she started working raising HIV/AIDS awareness, appearing on TV ads, billboards and, most importantly, having meetings with students in American schools.
After her diagnosis in 1989, her early years as seropositive woman were hell since she needed a pretty aggressive treatment with AZT that wrecked her body and made her life more like an endless torture - you can read more details about her story here.
It's important for people to know what HIV is from personal stories and not just through communication campaigns. Like DAA, she also sees that even if young people are aware of the risk of infection, they're still getting infected with HIV. "You're not hearing about that", she said at Spokane Falls Community College (Washington). "You're hearing [just] about how people living with HIV are living longer lives nowadays, how the disease is treatable and manageable. This is sort of true." Still, she knows pretty well that 20 years ago the situation was way more dramatic and this is a story any youngster should know.
"It's not that I think I have all the answers, but I just don't think that sex, or the talk of sex, should be shelved. I think if we put it right here, then many of us maybe don't have to go through what I went through." Amen to that, girl, I love your style. Armstrong speaks with young people as peers, she knows her stuff and knows that youngsters have lesser and lesser taboos, especially when it comes to sex. The only exception seems to be condom use and this is why just with being direct, sincere and talking about the ‘dirty stuff' you will draw peoples' attention and have a real impact on the audience.