Maria hiv mejia

Patient Leader

Co-chair women and minorities ( Dab the AIDS bear project ) BLOGS: The well project ( a girl like me ) : Until there's a cure : Twitter : @mariahivmejia youtube: mariasjournal website : International support groups for people infected and affected English : Spanish : google me: maria HIV mejia or maria mejia VIH to see all of my work I was just turning 18 when I found out I was HIV positive…I was very young. Back in those days, this was a death sentence. It was around the same time Magic Johnson came out saying he was positive. I was studying in a program in Kentucky named Job corp and they did HIV testings to all the students that came in new. I remember before all of us kids were getting tested I was answering all the questions correct about HIV (how ironic) me, this was a disease for prostitutes, drug users or homosexuals so I never thought I would ever be positive. A month passed and I kept on getting slips from the clinic telling me to come in. As I started getting homesick, I went to the clinic, and boom, there I remember an Asian doctor looking at me with eyes of horror…asking me, why didn’t you come sooner? I answered like any teen would ..I don’t know..well he sat me down and he didn’t even prepare me! He just said you have AIDS. I went into shock..I didn’t say a word..I saw my whole life pass in front of me! I thought I am going to DIE…it’s over and I will never marry or have kids. I received the news alone. All my immediate family was in Miami. I got it from my first boyfriend when I was just 15/16 years old. he was the leader of the gang I joined when I ran away from home from all the abuse I had endured as a child and story is very complex. I was so lost. They told me there was another kid that had it and I could continue to stay there, but all I wanted was to go and die at home. I called my mom and she was always my strength. I told her “mom, I have AIDS”, she paused and told me, “don’t worry you will not die from this.” 2 days later I was home and just waiting for death. Back then, people were dropping like flies and AZT was the only thing available. I went to a social worker they referred me to and a doctor that gave me a paper saying ‘if you take AZT, it may damage your internal organs’. I said NO WAY I’m taking that, and I believe I did the right thing not taking those high dosages of AZT back then. I didn’t take any anti retrovirals for almost 10 years and kept myself healthy–or as healthy as I could be–with natural medicine. I do take my medication now. It has been almost 23 years. I have learned a lot in this process and also helped many along the way infected and affected. First of all, I never died as I thought…I learned to love myself more and to take care of myself more. I have taken away the stigma of being HIV+ and taught many people. I also became an activist and HIV peer educator. I learned, in this process, that I am still living to have hope, how being positive made me a more positive person! I am also an International Social media activist ...I blog for ,The well project ( a girl like me ) and until there's a cure. I am also with the Gilead's advocate network and I am the founder of 2 international support groups in Face book for the infected and affected from all over the world in English and Spanish. I am also a motivation speaker and I am with the speakers bureau for Miami- Dade schools and also Universities ,Jails ,high risk groups etc. I also have many vlogs in youtube in English and Spanish and I have been a part of many documentaries that ASO's use as learning tools for their patients also many doctors use them. I am also a small business owner with my partner Lisa And that although I say I am HIV positive..the way I feel Is that I am a human being that happens to have the condition of being HIV positive..I have learned to be stronger, and in all of this journey where I am the most fulfilled is helping everyone,especially young people, because I also became infected at such a young age…So I have gone to schools to teach them and tell them look at me..not to toot my own horn but I am an attractive female..and they look at me and think. I have been in many conferences and also a pre- and post- counselor testing people, as well as an HIV educator for Jackson Memorial Hospital, a volunteer for the red cross and just very involved. I wish I would of had someone like me when I was told I was infected! As I do with them when I told them ‘you are HIV positive…but wait..I hold them and say ‘look at me I am too…you are not alone and if you do what you are supposed to do you will live a long life.’ Just look at me as your example and that calms them down. That makes me happy…to give is one of the most wonderful things a human being can do. I just have so much to tell and my story is very complex and I have been through so much and learned so much in these 24 years and I am still going through different phases in my life…with life’s ups and downs. I can truly say that being positive saved my life and brought many learning experiences…Although almost all my life I have been in long term relationships with HIV negative men, I am happily married to a woman that is wonderful and caring. We have been together almost 5 years and she is HIV negative and a wonderful human being that I love . I have no children but we will look into having ( maybe ) I do have a little dog Flea :) …I am an activist, a peer educator, a caregiver. I volunteered for the Red Cross in education for the Hispanic HIV community and also the American community. I was a pre- and post-test counselor. I have spoken in may conferences and have done a lot of outreach in the community, especially in the schools for prevention and education..and it is part of my every day life to educate everyone I can in this subject..Being HIV positive is nothing to be ashamed about! We are strong , and we will take away all the stigmas slowly but we have to open up. I remember my poor, strong mother when I told her. She told me you will not die from this, but you will tell the family you have another disease…I was a kid and she was ignorant to the subject..but without her love and support I would of never made it. Being HIV+ is not a punishment, it is just a condition that we have to live with! And it’s not a disease of homosexuals, drug addicts or prostitutes. I have seen everyone from infants to 80 year old ladies with this condition! We have to empower ourselves and give ourselves self worth and teach people not to pity us..and believe the end of the day they end up admiring us..because as I say we are soldiers. We were struck with something delicate and serious. I am not going to sit here and minimize the seriousness of the illness…it is not easy. That is also what I teach people that think ‘oh, I will just not protect myself because I just take some pills and I am fine!’ just cause they see i look good and look healthy. They don’t know the side effects and things we have to endure mentally with this illness! I have also been doing new things as an activist and advocate that lives with HIV,as a survivor of sexual molestation and abuse as a child and ex gang member I am writing a book about my life and all the things I have lived and survived will come out in 2013 I was also awarded with the ADAP award for social media activist of the year and being an advocate and fighting for the right of people to have HIV medicine here in the USA I was also honored on April 11 which was a very special bday for me because I turned 40..I made it to 24 years of living with this Condition that is not easy and also being recognized by my lgbtqia community for my International work on HIV/AIDS and I am also a part of the anti-stigma campaign for the CDC all over the USA Let's stop HIV together/ Detengamos el VIH juntos in billboards,buses,tv and radio and also many campaigns in magazines etc.. also will be the female hostess of the very awesome POZ cruise in 2013 also the proud ambassador of dab the AIDS bear project and The Stigma project So with all this being said…let’s continue this battle because one day we will look back and say YES, WE MADE IT.. and remember for those who are HIV negative... HIV/AIDS is not death sentence anymore,but it is a life sentence! and from the darkest places ..comes the brightest lights ♥ we are someone! we are worthy! also remember that for the caterpillar to become a butterfly it had to have many struggles and fight fight fight to be able to FLY!! and I am flying please!!! LOVE YOURSELF,TEST YOURSELF, PROTECT YOURSELF love and light Maria T Mejia

Past Awards Participation

Third Annual Health Activist Awards


Best in Show: YouTube

Fifth Annual Health Activist Awards


Health Activist Hero

Sixth Annual WEGO Health Awards


Patient Leader Hero
Maria hiv mejia

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