Women Who Rock: Marvelyn Brown

March is National Women’s History Month, and we’re celebrating by sharing a lady we admire each weekday. Since today is the last day of this awesome month, we’ll be going out with a bank, spotlight FIVE women who rock.


Marvelyn Brown probably never expected to make it to “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “The Tavis Smiley Show” and “The Tyra Banks Show.” Early in life, she may not have thought she was going to be featured in Newsweek, Ebony, and Fortune. No doubt she wishes she was featured worldwide for a different reason other than having HIV, but her strength to speak out is admirable.

What makes Brown an amazing woman is not all of the media attention. It’s not about having a book out called The Naked Truth: Young, Beautiful, and (HIV) Positive. What makes her amazing is that on July 17, 2003, when she found out she was HIV positive at the age of 19, she immediately reached for her cell phone to notify all of her sexual partners. It’s difficult enough to digest that kind of news, but from her hospital bed she took responsibility for it.Brown admits that she feared her HIV status, and that “it seemed easier living in ignorance.” It was disappointing that she knew so little about HIV and AIDS. But because so many parents are still unwilling to speak to their children about sex beyond “don’t get pregnant,” it wasn’t surprising. Even with the news that Magic Johnson was HIV positive, Brown thought she was untouchable. But once HIV entered her life, she spoke up instead of shrinking into denial.

Further Reading:

  • The Naked Truth: Young, Beautiful, and (HIV) Positive by Marvelyn Brown
  • Marvelyn Brown: Young, Beautiful, & (HIV) Positive
  • Marvelyn’s POZ Blog
  • MySpace: Marvelyn Brown