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. I was studying in a program in Kentucky "Job corps" and they did HIV testings to all the students that came in new. this was known as a disease for prostitutes, drug users or homosexuals so I never thought I would ever be positive. A month passed (1991) one week after my 18th bday and I was told "YOU HAVE AIDS" 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 got it from my first boyfriend in 1989 when I was just 15/16 years old. I was so lost. It has been 24 years since I got HIV and I have learned a lot in this process and also helped many along the way infected and affected.I never died as I thought…I learned to love myself more and to take care of myself more. I am helping take away the stigma of being HIV+ and educated many people in the USA and all around the world.
I also became an HIV educator/tester and motivational speaker. I am a volunteer for the red cross as an HIV trainer and I am also an international social media activist/blogger. I blog for The Well Project (A Girl Like Me) and Thebody.com and have a very successful bilingual youtube channel where I educate through social media.
I am the founder of 2 international support groups for people infected and affected from all over the world in English and Spanish. I speak in schools, universities, jails, high risk groups and I am proud Ambassador of Hope for Dab the AIDS bear project and The stigma project.
I am also part of the very important campaign "let's stop HIV together" for the CDC "detengamos el VIH juntos,and I do talk shows and have been part of 3 documentaries to create awareness on this condition and the book about my life will be coming out in 2014. I am also a small business owner with my partner Lisa.
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 HIV. I never let HIV define who I am.
I wish I would of had someone like me when I was told I was infected! As I do with them when I tell them ‘you are HIV positive, I hold them and say look at me ,I am HIV positive 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.
Remember for those who are HIV negative... HIV/AIDS is not death sentence anymore,but it is a life sentence!
LOVE YOURSELF,TEST YOURSELF, PROTECT YOURSELF
Love and light
Maria T Mejia