The twenty stories contained in this volume are true, self-authored accounts of Latino and Latina HIV/AIDS survivors disclosing their sero-status to others: friends, family members, lovers, and ultimately... you. Each story is unique. Many reflect a range of experience beyond disclosure, such as receiving a first diagnosis, making treatment decisions and finding mental and spiritual balance in the face of potentially serious illness. Each offers a glimpse of personal reality that rings like a note on the guitarra: brave and clear. As each successive story unfolds, their synergy begins to form chords, rhythms and melodic structures, until by books end a mighty swell of harmony that is the song of life renewed has broken the silence of loneliness and denial and allowed us all to sing along, unafraid. Rompiendo el Silencio... Breaking the Silence.
You are about to enter a sacred place. A place that is best entered by shedding fear and embracing trust and humanity. A rare place that holds priceless gifts of the heart for you to share, at the invitation of those whose most precious thoughts and experiences are laid bare within. Cultura, conscience, comunicación -- caring. These gifts are offered with the hope that you and others will listen and learn from these stories of human beings struggling with burdens of silence and triumphing with words of power. Words meant for your eyes and ears. Words that may change your perspective, or affirm it. Words that bridge the gap between surface knowledge and full understanding. Words that say Accept me as I am. I have trusted you enough to reveal my most sacred place to you. The bond we form here can never be broken.
POWER Program Staff
We would like to thank the following individuals and organizations for their contributions to this project:
This material was produced by APLA and funded through a community materials development grant provided by the California AIDS Clearinghouse, a CA DHS/Office of AIDS Community Education & Prevention Statewide Technical Assistance Program at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center.
All the Latinas and Latinos living with HIV who shared their disclosure stories, Latinas/os living with HIV who participated in the focus groups, POWER Program Staff, APLAs Case Management, Treatment Education and Womens Services programs, Bienestar Human Health Services, Inc., AltaMed, The Wall-Las Memorias, Women Alive, AIDS Service Center, Pasadena, East Valley Community Health Center, County of Los Angeles DHS Office of AIDS Programs and Policies, Así Creative Consulting and Sinclair Printing.