My name is Marissa Gonzalez, originally from New Jersey, living in sunny Southwest Florida since 2004. I am the youngest of four and the only girl. When I joined as a blogger with The Well Project, I had just turned 30 and was embarking on a journey of self discovery and self love. Now, just shy of 34, I don't have it all figured out but I've certainly come a long way.

As a young Latina I was teased for many years, and in 2016, when I was diagnosed with HIV, I thought this would be something else to be teased about. Once so uneducated, I attempted to take my own life because this wasn't the "life I chose". After I stopped feeling bad for myself I started advocating for HIV education for our youth until I was ready to be public with my status which happened in 2019. Since then I have appeared on radio and tv interviews, conference panels, have been a keynote speaker for a local fundraising event for a local HIV/AIDS clinic and I've traveled both internationally and domestically to share my story, educate others, and I myself be educated. While my journey may seem like it's just beginning, I know the future holds so much!

I am a full time entrepreneur, business owner, advocate and all around badass! I am the hero in my story. ?

Why Marissa wants to be part of A Girl Like Me: The reason I want to join this platform is to see that I am not alone. Living in SWFL, it's not a major city where many are speaking out about their experiences. This platform will help me connect with other women like myself - not just living with HIV, but living. Often times I find myself lost in my diagnosis and other days I seem to forget that I am living with HIV. A Girl Like Me can be the peer support that I do not have here at home.