Living With HIV

My name is Adrienne Seed. I am a 59-year-old straight white woman--an artist, a writer, a counselor, a mother--who has lived with HIV for seven years. For some of this time I was forced to live as an "invisible" woman, denied a voice because of the stigma and prejudice associated with HIV. Now I am lucky that I can speak out, and I will continue to do so on the behalf of all the "invisible" positive women who, for one reason and another, are denied their voice. My artwork is one medium for me to make my voice--and their voices--heard.
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The Last Supper

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HIV: The Voice That Cannot Be Heard

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I cannot remember a time in my life when the creation of art has not been my tool for expressing my innermost feelings and communicating with other people. Then HIV came along and changed everything. Suddenly, like so many other HIV positive women, I was forced to live a secret life as an "invisible" woman due to the stigma and prejudice associated with this anti-social disease. I stopped painting, I no longer had the physical strength to sculpt and I was even fearful to write things down for fear they would be discovered. To have my creativity, which had always been my life force, severed in this harsh manner was a death in itself, and for me was the most stultifying aspect of the whole HIV conundrum.

When I was first diagnosed, one doctor told me he hoped I find inspiration from my condition and continue to paint and sculpt, as other artists before me have done until they'd died of AIDS. At first I was unable to comprehend how anyone could find inspiration from this terrible disease. Aside from the devastating effects it had already had upon my body, I found that I was suddenly consigned to live within a rule of secrecy, unable to speak out for fear of repercussions to my family and in particular my son.

When I did finally come out of the HIV closet, it was like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders and my creative juices, my life's blood, started to once again course through my "tainted" veins. The inspiration I have found has been through storytelling, both visually through my art work and also in words by writing my "hivine" blog and Web site.

When I painted "The Last Supper," I wanted to depict my experience of living with HIV - the medication, the empty bowls, the loneliness signifying how no one wants to eat with me or share the food I have prepared, the white rabbit signifying my time is running out, the pall bearers carrying me off to my death, the abandoned shoes of my deceased partner, the solitary autumn leaf.

"HIV: The Voice That Cannot Be Heard" inspired me to write the following words:

The voice that cannot be heard
The song that cannot be sung
The thoughts that cannot be spoken
The malady that cannot be seen
The life of an invisible woman

HIV may no longer be the death sentence that it once was, but it is a life sentence. My lifetime goal is to raise awareness in the hope that HIV can eventually be eradicated from the planet. As yet there may be no known cure but unlike cancer HIV is preventable.


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Royaume Uni

Beautiful paintings, and she writes a very funny blog. Very inspirational woman overall!


Thank you for speaking out, and for your lovely paintings.

Pays Bas

Adrienne is a true blueser :-)