My name is Maria Mejia. I am a 40 year old Colombian female that lives in Miami, FL. I’ve been positive for 20 years. 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 over four years and she is HIV negative. I have no children but we will look into having :)…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 women, 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 have 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 me...at 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! So with all this being said…let’s continue this battle because one day we will look back and say YES, WE MADE IT...peace and love...Maria

Why Maria wants to be a part of A Girl Like Me:  To empower other girls/women that after 20 years you can come out as a survivor. With all of the situations that we live being HIV positive, there is hope and a reason for all of this...and basically what makes me happy and full of JOY is to HELP others :)

Click here for a Q&A with Maria Mejia.

 

 

International support groups for people infected and affected

English: https://www.facebook.com/groups/mariahiv/
Spanish: https://www.facebook.com/groups/mariahiv1111/