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Maria’s intro

December 7, 2010

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. 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 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 :)

14 Comments leave one →
  1. kristi permalink
    December 7, 2010 5:24 pm

    Reading you post today has brought hope into my heart. Thank you so much for sharing with us and me! Peace sister.


  2. Lisa Laing permalink
    December 7, 2010 6:35 pm

    Im very proud of you, I admire your strength,

    good luck

  3. mariateresa1111 permalink
    December 7, 2010 6:59 pm

    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 ❤

  4. mariateresa1111 permalink
    December 7, 2010 8:19 pm

    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

  5. Ashanti permalink
    December 8, 2010 3:37 am

    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

  6. Cilla permalink
    December 8, 2010 5:40 am

    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

  7. mariateresa1111 permalink
    December 15, 2010 8:54 pm

    Hello Ashanti!!! I am glad I can help in any way !! well as I said I didn’t take any meds for almost 10 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 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 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 basically I took many things that maybe some people would never even think of canadian duck embryos ..anti oxidants are very 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 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 take coenzyme has to do with our mitochondria cell…which is our energy cell…and hiv meds destroy this very important was shown that people lipoathrophy and lipodistrophy have damaged mitochondria that is something I buy constantly, another wonderful thing is colostrum that will make your tcells go way up!! it is awesome :)…,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 ❤

  8. mariateresa1111 permalink
    December 15, 2010 9:08 pm

    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 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 dont even have to wait for it to be 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 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 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 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

  9. adrienne permalink
    December 16, 2010 6:23 pm

    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

  10. mariateresa1111 permalink
    December 16, 2010 6:42 pm

    Ty Adrienne..yes it was soooo soooo devastating actually the blog I wrote today talks about…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…peace and love and ty for your kind words…

  11. memory permalink
    May 29, 2012 5:40 am

    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.

  12. May 29, 2012 1:20 pm

    Hello memory!

    Yes I am very much here 🙂 add me on Fb maria hiv mejia

    love and light



  1. Introducing Maria Mejia | Until There's A Cure
  2. Until There's A Cure » Introducing Maria Mejia

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