HIV/AIDS Activist Marvelyn Brown To Speak At Chattanooga State

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Marvelyn Brown, an African American author and HIV/AIDS activist, will speak at Chattanooga State Community College about her life as an HIV positive female on Wednesday, Feb. 1.

Sponsored by Chattanooga State, the Tennessee Department of Health, and the Southeast Tennessee Development District, Ms. Brown’s presentation offers an intimate chronicle about her experiences with HIV disease while underscoring the worldwide reality that HIV infection rates continue to increase.

The event is a preview to National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on February 7, and will begin at 10 a.m., in the Chattanooga State Humanities Theatre, which is on the main campus at 4501 Amnicola Highway. The program is open to the public, and admission is free.

A native Tennessean, Ms. Brown was born in Nashville in May, 1984. In 2003, she was 19, and celebrated for her talents as a track and basketball athlete. However, the direction of her future changed when, in July, she found herself in a hospital intensive care unit, close to death and battling an unknown illness.

As her condition deteriorated, Ms. Brown never considered that she might be infected with HIV. But after a battery of tests, she learned that her life was forever altered because she was HIV positive.

Choosing action over silence, Ms. Brown decided to publicly acknowledge her HIV positive status as a heterosexual African American woman by openly addressing the challenges associated with managing HIV disease. Her direct and sincere approach became legendary, and today, she is one of the most ardent voices for HIV testing, prevention education, and treatment.

Her 2008 autobiography, The Naked Truth: Young, Beautiful and HIV Positive, explores her transformation from an unsuspecting teenager into a passionate and relentless social advocate.

In 2004, Ms. Brown won the Positive Youth Leadership Award from the National Association of People With AIDS and in 2007, she won an Emmy Award for her public service announcement that aired on MTV during the network’s "Think HIV" campaign.

In 2009, Ms. Brown received the Do Something Award, which honored her with a national promotion that featured her life story on the back of millions of Doritos bags, and most recently, the Black AIDS Institute saluted her advocacy by recognizing her as one of the 2010 Heroes in the Struggle.

Because of her reputation for honest, candid discussion, Ms. Brown receives invitations to speak all around the world as well as requests for guest appearances on television. Her most recent television appearances include interviews on MTV, BET, America's Next Top Model, and the Oprah Winfrey Show.

For more information about Marvelyn Brown’s presentation on Feb. 1, contact Nancy Watts by email at or by telephone at 697-2568.

Additional information is also available on the college’s website at

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