The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter 
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol

Personal Story

On World AIDS Day, I Reflect on My Journey and Dedicate Myself to Educating My Community About HIV

November 30, 2018

Alberto Perez Bermudez

Alberto Perez Bermudez (Courtesy of Alberto Perez Bermudez)

I was born in Nicaragua but grew up in Los Angeles, California and Miami, Florida. It was my grandmother who raised me, as my mother had emigrated to the United States -- and I was, in the years to come, to follow her. Therefore, I never really had a mother and father I could talk to. When I arrived in the U.S., I grew up all by myself in the streets of L.A. and Miami. As a young adult, I felt uncomfortable using a condom when I had sex. I had not educated myself about the HIV/AIDS virus. I really didn't care about it -- for, you see, it couldn't affect me.

I figured that AIDS was a "gay" disease or for those who are IV drug users.

As a former leader of a gang, I used to have many women interested in me. I never realized that HIV would affect me, until one day, in March 1990, when I went to get tested and the realities set in. I was diagnosed HIV positive.

Living with HIV and now AIDS has affected my entire life. Emotionally and physically, I began to change after my diagnosis. My relationships with friends turned around, and my idea of marriage and having a family has taken a new perspective. And now, I really want to have a wife and [family []].

In the past, I never got involved in helping others. I changed my life by taking on a new and positive direction. I used to be a "bad boy," and now I'm not! I take pride in having completed high school, even though my home was the streets of downtown Miami for so many years. I am proud of having graduated and fulfilling a promise that I had long ago made to my mother and grandmother.

Now, I want to talk to about the bad and good things in my life. I have dedicated myself to educating the Hispanic community. I look to assist youth, heterosexuals, and all others who would look to a peer to relate to. I want to let them know the consequences of high-risk behavior. I will do my best to help reduce other people's exposure to HIV by providing the needed education I never got. I will educate others until the day I die.

Alberto Perez Bermudez

Alberto Perez Bermudez in his gang days (Courtesy of Alberto Perez Bermudez)

I also wish to learn new and different things about HIV immigration law. I never felt quite as good as the day I received my green card from the U.S. I now feel that I belong here. It was a four-year struggle -- and I thank God and the many people who helped me.

I'm a PLWA -- a person living with AIDS. A Hispanic, Catholic, heterosexual man who acts as a group leader for various organizations, both locally and nationally, in the effort of educating others. I look for all types of HIV/AIDS information and distribute them to various organizations in my community. I am also trying to help get HIV medication for people in third-world countries.

I am now a long-term survivor.

Alberto Perez Bermudez is an AIDS activist, educator, and long-term survivor. He lives in Miami Beach, Florida.

Related Stories

Latinx People Living With HIV Share How They Came to Terms With Their Diagnosis
On World AIDS Day, Remembering What the '80s Were Like for Latinx Gay Men in California
Viva Mi Gente! 12 Latino Celebrities and Characters Who Thrust HIV/AIDS Into Popular Culture
HIV & Me: A Guide to Living With HIV for Hispanics
The Body en Español
More Personal Accounts of HIV in the U.S. Latino Community

This article was provided by TheBody.


The content on this page is free of advertiser influence and was produced by our editorial team. See our advertising policy.