Alora (she/her) is originally from San Diego, but has been living in Seattle for six years. She is a mother of two beautiful, tiny to mid-sized humans, as well as a dog, cat, and lots of plants. She is what we call a ‘vertical’, meaning she contracted HIV from her mother, either at birth or through breastfeeding. Standing strong and proud at 35 years old, she is also a long-term survivor having lived through the early days of the AIDS crisis when there was no known medication to effectively treat folks who carry this virus.
Alora has been public about surviving with AIDS since 1992, right after her diagnosis at seven years old. In her long career of speaking and advocacy since, she has shared her story with hundreds of school groups, church groups, and in community settings. She has also participated in media storytelling with wide-reaching outlets such as The New York Times, The Body, Seventeen, and YM. She has documented her story and served as a board member with The Positive Project, and presented at a variety of conferences, national and local. While all of this is certainly impressive, Alora says that experiencing mutual storytelling and empowerment in spaces of community with other folks who are living with HIV/AIDS is the most important part of her work.
Alora currently serves as a Family Pandemic Crisis Manager, and prior to the Fall of 2020, she managed a peer-led program serving HIV-positive women in Seattle. These days, she feels that her most notable accomplishments are occasionally finishing a book while parenting, advocating for her kids in the school system, supporting other HIV-positive folks, learning to prepare more than five dinners in a night, remembering to take her meds, seeking support for her mental health, and continually pushing for a life she can survive and thrive in.
By joining Through Positive Eyes as an artivist, she is most excited to explore photography as a new medium to share her story, but most of all, she feels honored to work alongside her fellow artivists. She says, “To meet, learn from, and work alongside this phenomenal group of humans is an experience beyond measure.”
Sign up for virtual experiences and public events wherein Seattle artivists share their photography and personal stories about living with HIV, and encourage participants to join the efforts to banish stigma—a major roadblock to both prevention and treatment.