Ashley Rose Murphy

Sandy Nichols / 2015

Ashley Rose Murphy has been fighter since the day she was born. Infected with HIV since birth, Ashley was initially only expected to live a few months when her adoptive parents, Kari and Don Murphy, welcomed her into their home. Thanks to the love and support of her family, Ashley began to grow stronger and get healthier. She has overcome many barriers including mild cerebral palsy, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and learning disability to become the happy, healthy young woman she is today.

Ashley’s parents told her she was living with HIV when she was 7 years old and cautioned her not share her status with anyone, as she might experience discrimination from people who didn’t understand the virus and how it could be contracted. “I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong, so I just started telling people,” said Ashley.

While many of Ashley’s friends and peers were supportive after she shared her status, she faced discrimination and fear from others. 

“Parents uninvited me to birthday parties, gave me disposable cups and utensils to use when I visited, and a neighbor even banned her children from playing with me. Other friends I knew who were living with HIV were forced to switch schools or even move to new towns after people found out they were living with HIV.” But the challenges Ashley faced only made her want to speak out more.

“No one, especially a child, should face fear, stigma, or discrimination because they are living with HIV. I could see that my story could help educate people about HIV and reduce the stigma associated with the virus. I had the support of my family and knew that even if my story helped just one other kid like me to not feel alone, it was a story I had to share.”

Today, Ashley continues to bring her strength and courage with her everywhere she goes. By sharing her story with young people around the world, she encourages youth to educate themselves about HIV in order to achieve a world where no child has AIDS. You can follow her on Twitter here.

Profile last updated: September 2015