Instagram Model Gena Tew Receives Outpouring of Support For AIDS Battle

Instagram model Gena Tew has received an outpouring of support across social media after revealing that she has been battling AIDS.

The 27-year-old, who has more than 30,000 followers on Instagram and a further 430,000 on TikTok, has been documenting her health struggles in a series of videos on social media since going public with her diagnosis in March.

On June 11, social media star Tew shared a video of herself struggling to get up from her bed as her weight plummeted and muscle atrophy weakened her legs.

"I lost all my muscle and strength due to immune system, aids and being in a hospital bed for so long," she captioned the heart-wrenching clip, which has been viewed more than 12 million times.

@genatew2

I lost all my muscle and strength due to immune system, aids and being in a hospital bed for so long..#fyp #therepy #pain #aids #anorexic

♬ Night Trouble - Petit Biscuit

The clip is one of many that Tew has shared on social media in recent months, including visits to doctors and posts from her home, where she revealed that she had lost sight in one eye and that her weight had dipped to a low of 65 pounds.

Thanks to advanced treatments, Tew has shown videos of herself having gained weight as she recovers from the worst of her health battle.

This week, Tew answered a question on how she acquired AIDS, explaining in a video: "I do not know who gave it to me or where I got it, how I got it. All I know is that because I was so sick to the point of death, they said I had to have it for eight to 10 years.

"And in that timeframe, I was living in New York City and I was homeless. I did get raped a couple times—not something I like to talk about. I have had a couple free tattoos so it could have been a dirty needle, I don't know.

"Do I know those people? No. Did I say anything when those things happened? No. Because I was naive and I was stupid and I was young."

On March 23, Tew publicly revealed her diagnosis in a TikTok video after receiving questions about her previous stints in hospital.

"I think It's about time I get it off my chest so that I feel better, the truth about why I've been in the hospital," she said in the clip. "Unfortunately, your girl contracted AIDS. And for anyone saying that a pill should take care of everything, it doesn't. I've been through hell and I'm still going through hell."

The comments sections of Tew's posts have been flooded with an outpouring of supportive messages from followers and well-wishers, which Tew acknowledged in a TikTok video uploaded on Wednesday.

"I just wanna thank everyone for all the messages and emails and prayers and support that I've been getting [over] the last couple of days," she said. "Even the negativity, I understand a lot of you. It's okay. Please see the light in this somehow. I hope other people can be [as] open and honest as I am."

Tew went on to reveal that she's continuing to raise money to move to be closer to her family.

Gena Tew reveals AIDS diagnosis
Instagram model Gena Tew has received an outpouring of support on social media after revealing that she has been diagnosed with AIDS. Gena Tew/Instagram

According to Mayo Clinic, AIDS, or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, "is a chronic, potentially life-threatening condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). By damaging your immune system, HIV interferes with your body's ability to fight infection and disease.

"HIV is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). It can also be spread by contact with infected blood and from illicit injection drug use or sharing needles. It can also be spread from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding. Without medication, it may take years before HIV weakens your immune system to the point that you have AIDS."

While there is no cure for HIV/AIDS, medications can control the infection and greatly slow its progression.

"Access to better antiviral treatments has dramatically decreased deaths from AIDS worldwide, even in resource-poor countries," Mayo Clinic states. "Thanks to these life-saving treatments, most people with HIV in the U.S. today don't develop AIDS. Untreated, HIV typically turns into AIDS in about 8 to 10 years."