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Up Close and Personal

Find inspiration in these first-person narratives from Latinos and Latinas living with HIV. In the personal profiles, exclusive columns and blog entries below, you can get firsthand knowledge about dating and sex, substance abuse, homophobia, disclosure, religion, coming out, self-esteem, social justice, growing older and much more.

Personal Perspectives | Bloggers


Personal Perspectives

Rafael Abadia

Rafael Abadia
(En Español)

I got to see the 'dirty side' of AIDS in the '80s and '90s," remarks Rafael Abadia; "Younger people really haven't. I don't think they see the urgency." Rafael came close to death several times in those early years of the epidemic, and has taken numerous HIV treatment regimens. He's also been involved in advocacy, battling stigma, homophobia, AIDSphobia and fighting for access to care for others. Nowadays, he's still tirelessly working to raise awareness of HIV in Latino communities in his home state of Florida.

Bernadette Berzoza

Bernadette Berzoza
(En Español)

"There was something in me that said, 'You need to tell these women your story,'" Bernadette Berzoza remembers. "I think a lot of women were thinking like me: 'That's my life, I have to live it. It's not risky behavior.'" Today Bernadette volunteers helping people newly diagnosed with HIV navigate the health care system. This mother and grandmother is the co-founder of an HIV and health education organization that it is still in existence. It's a far cry from the years following her 1989 HIV diagnosis, when she told barely anyone her secret.

Evelyn Hernandez

Evelyn Hernandez
(En Español)

"I share my story, so that communities can see that this can happen to anyone. It impacts anyone. It has no borders," writes Evelyn Hernandez. In 1993, instead of Evelyn enjoying the honeymoon stages of being a newlywed, she dealing with not only her husband's HIV-positive diagnosis, she was dealing with her own. Evelyn speaks to us about loss, overcoming stigma, finding love again and the importance of giving back to other Latinos.

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Bloggers

Maria T. Mejia

Maria T. Mejia: Time to Show My Face and Take the Stigma Away

When Maria Mejia was diagnosed with HIV at 18, her mother said: "You will not die from this, but you will tell the family you have another disease." Now, after years of silence, this Miami resident is more than ready to open up to the world about living with HIV.

Frankie Ninja

Frankie Ninja: The Ninja Report

Frankie Ninja -- San Francisco resident, divorced dad, former pilot and Overall Father of The Legendary House of Ninja for the Western U.S., now happily partnered to a man -- hopes that his words will "inspire some to give back, and others to push back."

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