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)..to 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. 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 2o 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! 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 for almost 5 years, 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 20 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... More about Maria: My name is Maria Mejia. I am a 37 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 almost 3 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 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 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
Reading you post today has brought hope into my heart. Thank you so much for sharing with us and me! Peace sister.
Im very proud of you, I admire your strength,
Aww Kristi ty for your kind words!! I am here to help anyone that needs it..and also to look for help..we must support each other and inspire each other, because with this illness we need it...I am here for anyone that needs it at anytime :) I plan to be very active in the blog..anything anyone wants to ask me about the things I have learned along the way...even beauty tips lol with the harsh meds..and the effects that they have on our bodies..(body changes) feel free to ask..about herbal medication also..I was almsot 10 years without any medication...just natural medicine..I can tell you what I took..and everything I take now to keep my tcells up....peace and love !!! so glad to be here!!! and again kristi anything you ever need I am here my sister <3
TY so much my baby lisa! btw everyone that is my partner and soul mate! she is hiv negative! but as we all know we are infected and the ones that are with us..husbands,partners,companions,soulamtes etc etc.... are affected and they suffer along with us! ty for your support my lisa! ILY 4-ever! and ty for always supporting me in everything I do! xoxo
This is such an inspiring post! I really look forward to reading more from you cannot wait! Would be most grateful if you could post something on some of the herbal medicines that you took or supplements that helped you. I am not yet on meds and will like to explore those options.
Love and light!...xxx
You are so brave... I admire women like you. What where you taking before starting ARVs and what meds and supplements are you on. What beauty tips do you have especially for hairs falling off... clothes to wear etc. Keep up your good works. Cilla
Hello Ashanti!!! I am glad I can help in any way !! well as I said I didn't take any meds for almost 10 years..in any way am I saying for anyone not to take them..back then things were diffrent..and I just went with my gut feeling, which was not taking azt ..and thank god I didn't because as I said they were giving it in big doses..so basically I started taking my medication when my immune system went down..and it went down real bad..I had 39 tcells when I started medication..and thankgod I never got sick..because with an immune system like that is for me to at least been hospitalized or something..by the grace of good and as I said the natural medication it kept me alive...so now I do both natural medicine and hiv meds.. I will write a blog about it and be more specific with everything I did...I studied natural medicine in my country Colombia...my mom has a health food store there..so basically I took many things that maybe some people would never even think of taking..like canadian duck embryos ..anti oxidants are very important..at least 1000 mgs of vitamin c daily...soy milk is very good for us because of the protein...you see it all depends where you all live..I am living in Miami now..so some of the things are not found here, but I have acess to some things because my mother sends them to me...another thing that i actually buy and take and its very important for us is coenzyme q10 400 mgs..its not only good for energy ,severe fatige ,heart etc etc..but around 6 years ago I discovered a study of patients of hiv that were suffering from body changes ..to take coenzyme q10..it has to do with our mitochondria cell...which is our energy cell...and hiv meds destroy this very important cell..it was shown that people lipoathrophy and lipodistrophy have damaged mitochondria cells..so that is something I buy constantly, another wonderful thing is colostrum that will make your tcells go way up!! it is awesome :)...yoga.meditation.faith,love,hope,positive mind all these things and if you believe in a higher power stick to that...helping others also is proven to help us mentally and spiritually..I hope I helped a little if any of you have any questions let me know..and also I would love to know where everyone is from and where they live...peace and love <3
Hello Cilla...you can read the post above this..I pretty much say everything I take, but I will write a blog about it..something more extensive..thankyou so much for your kind words!! I am here with a purpose and it's to share everything my good , bad and ugly moments..I am going to be very real...as I have said many time..this is not an easy disease..sometimes it is more intense mentally than physically...I have endured it for 20 years and sometimes we get tired..you know...I will write about this also...you asked me about hair falling..well drink alot of soy milk if you have access to it...alot of protein...something that is wonderfullllll is JELLO!!! if a person does not want to gain weight you can take it sugar free...its cheap and so good..you dont even have to wait for it to be made..you can take a glass of water and and 1 table spoon of jello and drink it..around 3 times a day..if you are under weight drink it alot..vitamins for your hair are available here in the usa and colombia..I dont know where you live...but its called hair,skin and nails....gelatin capsules ..or as I said the cheaper way Jello...it has alot of gelatin..even more than the gelatin capsules..something that is wonderful for everything! hair,immune system, skin etc etc..its ALOE VERA in spanish is called sabila...you can use it in topic way or with tea..for your immune system or respiratory illness..asthma etc etc...and its wonderful for your hair..you apply it on your hair leave it for 45 min and wash it off...this and taking multi vitamins will help you with hair loss..keep in mind your nutrition and also drinking lots of water...also stress can make your hair fall...you asked me about what clothing to wear..you also have to describe to me your body type so I can help you with what clothing would be good for hiding those little things that can bother us..I am really good with that :) you can never go wrong with a wrap dress and some boots...or a nice tunic top with leggins and boots..it all depends..please be more specific with me and I would be glad to help you :) I hope this helped you cila!! look out for my new blog this week xoxo peace and love to you and everyone
Hi Maria - it was so uplifting to read your story, us women have to be so strong sometimes. I was 52 when I was diagnosed I am 61 now and never thought I'd live to be a pensioner. I can't imagine how devastating it must have been to be diagnosed so young with all your life before you and such a terrifying future, but you have shone through it - keep shining,
love Adrienne x
Ty Adrienne..yes it was soooo soooo devastating actually the blog I wrote today talks about that..wow...I am so happy to have other women to talk to about this..It helps me alot and I hope it helps others infected and affected :)..I don't know if any of you have facebook I just created a page there...you can find me there at firstname.lastname@example.org...peace and love and ty for your kind words...
Hi Maria it's Bob Hunley and just checking in. I was in the middle of meditation the other morning staying in the moment and you popped in my mind. I just wanted to check in and say hi . Still sober , still into
Metaphysical Spiritual stuff , but my lifestyle has changed . No
More promiscuity , for almost 2 years now or at least when I saw your message that time on you tube. I get so teary eyed though when I
Message you because it was you Maria who saved my life. You made me a better person. I will always be greateful to you. But then again I
Cry when I see a baby on TV. I'm just very sensitive. Anyway , being a student of A Course IN Miracals , a Metaphysical Spiritual Path non duality is very hard to follow with the ego-mind. Anyway , I really hope you are ok in every way and I did get into a mini relationship , but , I guess outside of AA I like solitude. I care and worry that you are ok , mostly because you are tough and hope you are ok , my Gaurdian Angel. God is definately in you. Take care , I will keep in touch. : ) Bob
Just hope you Are ok. Bob.
please write me on Face book Maria HIV Mejia
I have a huge support group online and I can help you and your daughter.
I have been infected since 1989 when I was 16 years old and diagnosed one week after my 18th bday. please also have her look at my videos this helps a lot just google Maria Mejia HIV and they will pop up.
love and light
i am proud of you, you have made me strong, how do i contact you, i will glad to learn more from you, i am a patience with HIV, How do i make friends, i am living with loneliness in life. i am under medication, i need to make friends with my fellow virus friends so i can be strong again.
hello maria i have a 20 year old daughter and i just found out on 8/15/12 that she is hiv positive. we also live in miami and reading your story has giving me hope. im at work but i printed out you story for her to read in hopes if will lift her up. this is not the end of the road for my daughter and we will fight this both til the end..... staying STRONG
Hi maria. most of the conversation i have read are dated 2010. i have read about you today. anyway let me know if you are still there. Good Day.
Yes I am very much here :) add me on Fb maria hiv mejia
love and light
how do i contact u, so can discuss somethings with you privately
Hello add me on face book Maria HIV Mejia xo
Hi Maria , Bob Hunley here. Just saing hi and checking in. I hope all
Is well. Bob
Hi Maria I have left FaceBook and discovered it wasn't healthy for me emotionally. Now scientists are saying there is a syndrome called"Facebook Depression"
But I will go further. Facebook itself doesn't cause anything. Facebook
"Just is" . People who struggle on the site have probably a pre disposition to depression unconsciously and Facebook in my theory has become the catylist to bring these emotions up . It's like being on a pink cloud thinking we are up
Here when our true emotional
Condition is down there and when the elation wears off the depression of not fitting in or a feeling of not being a part of comes back stronger undetected untreated and progressed. It's a good thing I caught it in time before it could effect my emotional sobriety. Just in case you or the people you help are having problems on there , with their HIV they have enough on their plate and maybe I've given you some insight. Just trying to help
I would rather call social network " brain lock". Anyway I think about you and your movement of the people you help
Because you actually saved my life and made a difference. Your message I believe made me do a change and a turn around and prevented me from getting HIV. ThAnx again Maria. Bob Hunley.
Hi Maria , Bob again. After reading some other posts I'm so moved of the bravery of these people on here. My emotional stability struggle is way out of the league of what I stuggle with. In a way that your struggles I feel
Are more intense and important. I take meds for OCD and depression plus trying to be the best dad I could be to my autistic boy who will be 14 in August. I hope it isn't innapropeiate I'm on here because I haven't got HIV. I just feel a connection because of my promiscuity last year with unprotected encounters with women and transgendered I was 100 percent sure I caught it. But I didn't and because of your you tube posts that's when I took a hard look at my life and I was making these partners my Higher Power. I call my Higher Power The Great Physician. And you were so young when you found out. I got caught into
The stigma till I befriended a guy at my work
Who has had it sice 88. When I
Was doing the dangerous deal
Last year I came to him all the time. Out of worry. It must of got on his nerves but I told him I was so addicted to the cuddling and closeness after sex It was hard to stop. Till
I saw your first you tube thing. So if I
Don't belong on here or making anyone uncomfortable let me know and I respect bounderies. But be glad to know it was YOU who saved my life. Kind regaurds , Bob.
If you replied I might of accidently erased it clicking the wrong thing. When I saw a response I clicked and it said delete before I could stop. But anyway I just wanted to give you an update and recovering from my foot surgery. Take care. Bob
Hi Maria I got an e mail about negative blogs on your site. I'm sorry I thought my last post I just checked in to u and said hi. I told my story to one of the bloggers on your site. Anyway Internet can get depressing and I'm not a troll. So I better bail out sorry if I said anything negative. Just had tough time lAtely
Hello Bob, I have never heard of any negative comments hun. you are good!! much love and light
Oh I got worried because i read it wrong then I saw mensral cycles and women's issues and reAlized I misunderstood. It was women's issues. Lol. There is a big trAnsition in my life. Alot of bad stuff is happening in AA cultish stuff and I left and easing into a new support group. Online it's called leaving AA by a gal named Monica her handle aka is Massive and she is trying to ease me through the transition. Although I still have my Spiritual Path she's an activist like you but exposing some cultish stuff and I had a hunch a few years before I ever saw her site. But there has been abuse going on like in Daytona Florida , here in LA and its not the original program. Massive is exposing it all. Bob
Hi Maria still not sure if you got the e mails just checking in seeing if you are ok? It had been a while and I expressed the gratitude for all your help. I saw my messages with a yellow edge around them. I guess they are under review. Take care of yourself , you will always be the one who helped me turned my life around. : ) Bob
Well obviously you just don't want to correspond with me Maria or whatever. I get the hint. No response. I waS just checking to see if you are ok but I know when I'm being shunned. Shirk or be shirked I always say. I'm angry now. I shall never visit this site or speak to you again. My goodbye is oppisite , " dislike and darkness" . All I tried to do is see about your well being and nadda. Goodbye forever!!!! I look like a fool
E mailing about your well being with no response. I'm a tough cookie myself and I'm not gonna gravel to no one. I'm done on here. I don't care how you are now and I'm erasing this site from my phone. HIV isn't the only debilitating illness out there!! Try crippling depression when you can't get out of bed or find yourself in a fetal position. You loose everything u worked hard for. I'm so pissed I wasted my time. I'm outta here FOR GOOD!! I'm so riled. Bob
Hi Maria hope all is good. Haven't got a response. Hope all is well. Bob
Hi Maria hope all is good. Haven't got a response. Hope all is well. I'm kicking it on this Sunday with my boy. Just worried about you.
Well you must be out of town advocating which is honorable. I'm saying I wish you well and it's not my style to keep e mailing with no responses. It looks creepy which I'm not. I even gave you a message on Facebook. So I wish you all the best keep up the good work. Take care. This will be my last message. . Bob