LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — For Hydeia Broadbent the odds were stacked against her.
"I'm a part of the first generation of children that were born HIV positive," she explained.
Born into a diagnosis she would spend her whole life fighting, Broadbent is now an international HIV activist and motivational speaker.
"My birth mother was an IV drug user who infected herself and passed it on through me," she shared. "My biological parents they both passed away and both were infected with AIDS."
"Of course, high school wasn't easy," said Broadbent. "I got teased a lot, sometimes, because I was the girl with aids."
But she turned her pain into purpose and by high school, she was on a journey for change, advocating to debunk misconceptions and stigmas surrounding HIV and AIDS.
"When I was growing up there was a lot of discrimination," she recalled.
"You had a lot of people being rude, you had a lot of people who didn't see the value of life with someone who was HIV positive," she said. "It was kind of like they wanted to disregard people."
Andrew Ryan, marketing and events director for Aid For Aids of Nevada, also known as AFAN, is also working to invoke change in the Las Vegas valley.
AFAN is one of the largest and oldest HIV resource centers in the state.
Ryan said there is on average one new infection every day in Nevada and starting the conversation is the first step.
"There are still people that need our help and so we try to create those conversations," he said. "[We need to] get that awareness going and make sure that people know this is still something that needs your attention and support."
Las Vegas landmarks and casinos will show their support by lighting their marquees or buildings red beginning at 8 p.m. on Dec. 1.
The following casinos and resorts will participate:
- The Venetian Resort Las Vegas
- High Roller Observation Wheel at The LINQ Promenade
- Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas
- Downtown Summerlin
- The Plaza Hotel & Casino
- SAHARA Las Vegas
- Keep Memory Alive Event Center
- Las Vegas City Hall
To find out more information about AFAN click here.
To read more about Hydeia Broadbent's story visit her website here.