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January 26, 2011

I am ready to show my face for many reasons! After the cycles that we go through with HIV/AIDS…the denial, realizing I was not dying after all…came the shame and hiding. I also started with the lies…that I believe came from my mother trying to protect me, saying tell everyone I have something else (another illness like lupus etc etc)!  Well after so much hiding, lying, the SHAME! Something really deep happened before 2011 came. My partner’s sister passed away from cancer and  this was so terrible 😦 . I thought to myself, and asked myself, WHY can’t I say I have HIV?? Why is it that anyone can say they have cancer or diabetes or any other health condition and I am so scared to disclose openly without having that fear?

It then, with a combination of other things, made me feel it is time to show my face to take the stigma away! We are not criminals…I have seen from a baby to an 80 year old lady that are living with the virus! It can happen to anyone…it takes only one time of having unprotected sex for you to be exposed! I am tired of feeling like I am a fugitive, a delinquent, a person in constant fear of people that I don’t want to know finding out about my status.

I know the stigma has to do with lack of education, fear of the unknown and because HIV is linked to sex…and this is taboo. But we are all sexual beings, and as I said, it only takes ONE time of unprotected sex to be exposed! Along with the other ways we know about contracting the disease. Another of the things that has me very disturbed is the way people, especially young people, that have minimized this illness to NOTHING! They just think, ‘oh, if I get infected I just take some pill and I will live a long life’. NO, it is not that simple! This is a hard disease! I know we as positive people have to show strength, but at the same time, we have to be realistic…this illness or condition is no joke.

HIV/AIDS is not a death sentence anymore but it is a LIFE SENTENCE! You get no breaks…unless you have the mutation that does not allow HIV to damage your immune system. So NO! It’s not that simple…please get tested, protect yourself and little by little try to educate those around you.

Another thing that has me very sad because of this way of thinking, is that HIV is being forgotten…although there are many people fighting. We need to have that passion that the people before us had! That Spirit of Passion! We have the responsibility  to educate those who are not educated on this matter and help those who just started this journey!

I know that some may think ‘well, it took her 20 years to get to this point’…and this is true..although I have been talking in public schools, educational classes in UM Jackson Memorial Hospital here in Miami, as a volunteer in the Red Cross…I always played it safe! but not anymore 🙂

This is how I feel…If I get discriminated  by anyone because I chose to come out to the whole world and show my face out there, it is their loss! That includes some in my own family or friends that don’t know! Because I am not a CRIMINAL!

Love and light as always ~Maria~

14 Comments leave one →
  1. Lynn2011 permalink
    January 26, 2011 12:02 pm

    Bravo Maria. You inspire me, and I hope one day I get to the place you are at now. The realization that death is not imminent, as well as the place where I am open about my illness.

    Thank you thank you and thank you.


  2. mariateresa1111 permalink
    January 26, 2011 12:07 pm

    Hi Lynn 🙂 I hope my words inspire you !! I speak from my soul..and yes we will all eventually get to that point!! love and light

  3. January 27, 2011 7:56 am

    Dear Marie, congratulations on the bold step you are undertaking. We have nothing to be ashamed about. What is shameful is the ignorance that people still have about this virus.

    Although it is true that AIDS has in some ways been swept under the rug, in particular for our young people, who do seem complacent when the media advertises only the good luck stories of new drug regimens that increase longevity. But as we know, the lifespan may be longer, it certainly isn’t easy! love Gisele

  4. Ruben permalink
    January 27, 2011 4:04 pm

    Hi Maria, i just got diagnosed, and its true what you said about everyone reacting differnet to the virus, im also in the bad side with 200 cd4 after only 1 year infection. I get skin conditions, lymph node swelling diarrhea fatigue, i hate it, i guess i have to star meds but doctor wants to make new exams if cd4 grow again, but i dont think so because of symptoms getting worse. i’d really appresiate any advice for this “paisano” of yours. hugs

  5. mariateresa1111 permalink
    January 27, 2011 6:06 pm

    Oh Gisele you always hit it right on point! ty for your support and always giving such important input xoxox ~maria~

  6. mariateresa1111 permalink
    January 27, 2011 6:11 pm

    Hi ruben! no worries! you are at 200 tcells! that is not that bad! I wen’t down to 39 and know of some that went down to 2 tcells !! sometimes the symptoms you are describing come from our own anxiety and stress….keep a positive mind! and get checked out to see what is best for you..check your tcells and if the doctor tells you to start meds..DO IT! no worries at the start of your regimen it will be a little hard for your body to adapt to it and then again you may not feel anything 🙂 sleep right , eat healthy and have a positive mind! and look at us that have Hiv/Aids for as long time and we are still going strong.
    Another very important thing , ask questions to your doctors and read and research a lot! dont worry ok! this will make you a stronger person!
    Love and light

  7. Cyril Kamran permalink
    February 1, 2011 2:35 pm

    Bravo Maria,

    Best of luck for the future. I like ur spirit U are strong person and we need people like u to defeat HIV & AIDS I am Cancer patient but I work for HIV and Drug Addiction in Pakistan from Last 15 years. We need people like u to come up and give courage to other people we are also running a VCT centre for HIV & AIDS and we have a large group of HIV +ve people and we want to provide them Care and support facilities and u r role model for the people living with HIV and AIDS.

    God bless u and give u courage to defeat HIV and AIDS

  8. February 2, 2011 4:46 pm

    Dear sisters in the HIV world, we can’t congratulate each other too much! If our actions, words and positive thoughts brings a smile to a woman who wakes each day with HIV in her life; I thank you, for touching my heart and her heart, perhaps sending each other a prayer or just a good vibe can for a moment lighten the load and remember that we deserve joy in our lives. When I was a little girl and I was unhappy; I would pout and my father would say,”watch out, you’re going to trip on that lip”. (I was and still can be a good pouter)..So let’s remember to have courage not just for ourselves but for everyone who is walking in our shoes too. peace et bon courage

  9. mariateresa1111 permalink
    February 3, 2011 7:37 pm

    Hi Cyril! thank god you are cancer free..and ty for your kind means a lot to have postive energy and feel the love from this world that is sometimes so full of hate and judgment…I applaud you (bravo) for what you are doing in your country..I can only imagine what people with Hiv/Aids go through there..and also for your work with addiction 🙂 anyone that has an illness and decide that they are going to fight is a wonderful thing but it is a human thing to try and stay alive and not give up! even when we feel we do. Sometimes we need help too.I know I can’t be SUPER M as my soulmate Lisa always calls me lol..cause I wan’t to save the world..I am strong but yet weak..I am human after what I basically do is what I feel and I feel the need to help others and that iself helps me feel that I have a purpose in life and everything I have been through is not in vain.. @ Gisele I love how you write and you are on point in so many ways! ty for your words of wisdom..I admire you! and it is ok to admire 🙂 your a special woman! and we have a lot to learn from you 🙂 just by us hanging in there and writing about our own experiences help us and others as you say! please pray for me 🙂 and I will do the same for you! sending everyone much love and healing energy your way! xoxo Love and Light ~Maria~ ❤

  10. February 4, 2011 10:13 am

    Good morning from the Canadian prairies. I’d like to share some of my morning ritual with all of you. I wake before sunrise. Mindful of the Buddha, I calmly light candles, brightening the face of the earth. I light incense, in gratitude and joy to Amida, Buddha of Eternal Life and Light, the Teacher of Gods and humans. May the fragrance of this incense help manifest in my heart and mind the fruit of understanding. This is a Buddhist prayer for PEACE:

    May all beings everywhere plagued with sufferings of body and mind
    quickly be freed from their illnesses.
    May those frightened cease to be afraid and may those bound be free.
    May the powerless find power, and may people think of befriending
    one another.
    May those who find themselves in trackless fearful wilderness; the children, the aged, the unprotected,
    be guarded by beneficial celestials, and may they swiftly attain Buddhahood.

    Sending you all Peace and Courage.

  11. Amanda permalink
    February 6, 2011 9:05 am

    Thanks Maria.. this makes me feel much better. God bless you

  12. mariateresa1111 permalink
    February 7, 2011 6:06 pm

    Aww I’am glad it does Amanda 🙂 we are here to support each other!! love and light xox

  13. Nonie permalink
    February 12, 2011 2:10 am

    Thank you Maria I wish I can hv your courage. Looking forward reading more of your next stories.


  14. February 13, 2011 12:08 pm

    It’s so important to have a place to be who we are. A safe place to see who we are becoming with this bug making itself at home in our bodies. tatty2gud said it so well the other day,” I won’t leave my fate in the incapable hands of a parasite.” Peace and courage Gisele

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