Since 2000, Deirdre has lived, learned, and experienced HIV on her own terms. She utilizes her sense of humor and a lively personality to openly share her medicine and medical adherence journey with the world using #MedsWillMakeMeDance. Deirdre is transparent about how she is not allowing HIV to have control of her, but fearlessly taking control of HIV. Deirdre is a native of Virginia and has worked as an educator, case manager, and speaker, however, she is most passionate about eradicating stigma, ending the criminalization of people living with HIV, combating racial injustice, health disparities, and being an active Partner in Change s the co-founder of Ending Criminalization of HIV and Overincarceration in Virginia (ECHO VA).
While performing outreach she heard of training that would bring more education to the African – American woman on HIV/AIDS prevention, self-esteem, gender pride, relationship issues, healthy decision making, and other women-related topics through a five-session series of discussion. In less than 2 years, Miss Johnson has had the opportunity to facilitate the SISTA Project (Sistas Informing Sistas on the Topic of AIDS) for over 350 African-American Women between the ages of 18 – 34. She has also been interviewed by local ABC, NBC and has graced the front page of the Richmond Times Dispatch, Richmond.com and features in HIVPLUS.ORG and Positively Aware Magazine.
Currently, she promotes healthy life choices using life experiences as an educational tool for all ages and walks of life via Deirdre Speaks. She is candid, honest, and open about HIV/AIDS, women’s rights, and HIV criminalization.
She currently resides in the Central Virginia area and is mostly remembered as “the woman that talks openly about HIV/AIDS”, healthy relationships, and everyday issues that affect us all. Many may know her, but few ever forget her name after hearing her story, laughing at her jokes, dancing, and sampling one of the prevention products that she designs.
Her favorite quote is “Minutes +/-moments = lifetime. It takes a minute to complete a task, a moment to make (or not make) a difference to equal a lifetime of good or bad memories, so make every minute and moment count for a lifetime of great memories”, which she coined herself.
If you ever get to see her present, be prepared to laugh, cry, and be edutained by a passionate and dynamic speaker on sensitive topics with the hope of a lifetime of good prevention and decision-making messages to pass on to the next generation.
Living with HIV for 20 years has had many positions, but is most passionate about her activism on eradicating stigma, ending the criminalization of people living with HIV, combating racial injustice, health disparities, and Partner in Change as the Co-Founder of Ending Criminalization of HIV and Overincarceration in Virginia (ECHO VA).