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Oh the Places You'll Go: My DrPH Residency in Puerto Rico

December 23, 2015

One of my favorite places, as of right now, is Puerto Rico. As a doctoral candidate at Walden University, I'm required to do a public health residency in either Puerto Rico or Tampa. Of course, I chose Puerto Rico.

My husband and I took this opportunity to leave the kids at home and have some much needed vacation time. Honestly when I was diagnosed with HIV I didn't expect to live this long or be in school for a doctoral degree and I have one more year left. My husband has really been my rock and inspiration.

We stayed in a cute hotel named the Coral Princess, not far from the Beach in Condado (Santurce). Condado is a great place. It has the population of a little over 6,000 and has a big gay community. It was just an amazing beautiful area. We also went to Boquerón, Cabo Rojo which was amazing. Boquerón is a beach village located in the city of Cabo Rojo.

The village is one of the main tourist attractions in the southwestern part of the island, which has an awesome gay community. The population there is about 5,000. We saw the salt beaches there and walked along the beach. We then went to Castillo San Felipe del Morro in Viejo San Juan or Old San Juan it was so festive and beautiful. One of my favorite places was El Yunque National Forest. It was my first time being in a rain forest; it was absolutely a wondrous time, I felt like a little boy in a candy store. When then stayed at the Sheraton in San Juan at the end of our trip.

HIV should not dictate where you can go but you can let it take you to places you've never been. I was so distraught 10 years ago when I was diagnosed, but I turned around and got back on my feet. I now I know that I can still go places I can still enjoy life.


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Justin B. Terry-Smith

Justin B. Terry-Smith

Justin B. Terry-Smith, M.P.H., may be one of the most public African Americans living with HIV: He has his own website, and he's even on YouTube. He is a noted HIV and gay civil rights activist and the creator of "Justin's HIV Journal," a popular blog in which he shares his trials and tribulations of living with HIV. A U.S. Air Force veteran, Justin resides in Laurel, Maryland, with his husband, Dr. Philip Terry-Smith, and their son, Lundyn. Presently, Justin is working toward earning his doctorate in public health. He welcomes your questions.
(Photo credit: Don Harris)


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