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HIV/AIDS Resource Center for African Americans
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Raven Lopez

January 2006

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Raven Lopez 

About Raven Lopez

Table of Contents

Personal Bio

Tell us a little about your life.

I'm 15, about to turn 16. I live with my mom and my older brother in the Bronx -- it's fun -- but my mom wants us to move back to Brooklyn. To tell you the truth, I wish I could live in Trinidad. I miss Trinidad. I miss the hot sun. I miss my grandmother's cooking, and her waking me up in the morning. I miss the beach, going on the boats, everything.

I'm in the 10th grade. Umm ... I'm talking to someone right now, and it is starting to get serious. He doesn't go to my school, but he knows about my status. Oh, and I had a pet. I want another one -- a puppy.

Do you plan to have children in the future?

Yes, I want two kids. No, as a matter of fact, I want four -- two boys and two girls.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in the Bronx most of my life.

Any thoughts of college or what work you want to do?

Yes. I want to go to Harvard and I want to be a lawyer.

Was there anything that you wanted to be when you were younger that you totally changed your mind about?

I always wanted to be a lawyer because my godmother is. But I always used to like ... crime movies, mysteries. I like to solve crimes and stuff like that.

Who are the most influential people in your life?

To tell you the truth, I used to look up to my mother, and in a way I still do. But I look up to my godmother now because, you know, she's a lawyer and I want to be in her shoes.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to talk on the phone, go outside, go shopping and have fun.

Are you a religious or spiritual person?

Yes, I am a Baptist. My family is a spiritual family.

Do you attend a church?

Yes, I do.

HIV Diagnosis

How long ago did you find out you were HIV positive?


My mom told me I was HIV positive when I was, what, 6 years old. She was like, "Raven, do you know that you are HIV positive?" And I didn't understand at that time what it meant. But I used to see ads on TV and stuff like that. And I asked her, "Are we gonna die?" And she was like, "No, there is medicine that won't take the disease away, but it will just take care of us." At first, when she told me I was HIV positive, I thought it was like a cold or something. I said, "Mommy, so it will go away?" And she was like, "No. It won't go away, but it is something that we live with."

You were born with HIV, correct?

Yes, I was.

How did you feel when she told you?

I felt sad, after a while. And when I started learning about it more, I felt sad and I didn't want to be bothered with nobody and stuff. Like, I really didn't know what to do.

How did your feelings change over time?

As I got older, I understood it more. And my mother, she's an outgoing person, and -- I'm not gonna lie. I had to deal with a lot of stigma and stuff, but my mom would always be at my side and say, "Well, you know, we have to do what we have to do and just get over it." But it was very hard for me to get over because a lot of kids used to make fun of me.

Sometimes my mom would be on Ricki Lake or Oprah, or they'd see us in magazines or TV, and they would be like, "Oh, Raven's got the monster," and things like that. I used to cry a lot. I used to come home. Sometimes I used to stay in the bathroom and not go to class and stuff. It's changed because now I'm in high school and now all of my close, close friends know.

How long do you think it takes to really process an HIV diagnosis?

It takes a while, because there are some people who don't know what to do if they find out.

What advice would you offer to somebody who has just found out they are HIV positive?

I would just say, "Keep trying. I understand how you feel because I went through the same thing. But you just gotta keep your head up. You're still a human being -- but there is just this one thing, that we have the virus."

What do you think is the first thing someone who has just found out they are positive should do?

If they think that they are [positive] already, they should talk to a psychologist, set up somebody to talk to. Let it out and stuff. Don't do nothing stupid or hurt yourself. I would tell them to talk to somebody -- or they could even come talk to me.

How has HIV changed you?

I have not changed my life, because I feel that I am a normal kid. I am a human being. And like I said, there is only one thing -- I have the virus and I have to take these pills everyday. But I feel like a human being and there is nothing else that is different about me.

Are you afraid of dying?

Nope. Because I am going to a better place and, to tell you the truth, I wish I was with my auntie right now. She passed away. She had cancer.

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This article was provided by TheBody.

Reader Comments:

Comment by: jaylyn (memphis,tn) Thu., Jan. 19, 2012 at 5:41 pm UTC
your so strong hold on you can do it
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Comment by: kendra (virgina,virginia) Thu., Aug. 4, 2011 at 12:43 pm UTC
Hello raven my name is kendra um i really dont know how to say this but im going through the same thing as you are and i read your story and you are so strong!!! like i found out when i was 14 years old that i was postive and i didnt know and still dont know how to handel it and be as strong as you are. i was born with this condition and i look at life like im ready to go. im the second child out of 4 kids and im the only one that is postive??? when i found out i talked to my mother about the situation and its like she dont want to come to grips with it?she wont talk to to me how i got it or nothing its like unreal to her.i dont have any hope im always angry but when i read your story i knew there was some hope for me and i want to say thank you where i live in va don't have a support group and if they did wouldnt nobody show up because they are ashamed:( i just want you to know what should i do to come to grips that im postive, because somedays are harder then the rest and i just want to give up this race that im running and when those days get unbearable i dont take my meds and i do awhole 360 down hill and i know thats not good.i want and need a postive person around me that i can talk too that really understands what im going through, because no matter what cant nobody unless u going though it urself can ever understand what u going through!
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Comment by: jaylyn t (memphis,tn) Thu., Jan. 19, 2012 at 5:37 pm UTC
i am only 10 years old and i wanted to get more information about your disease reading your story gives me information and makes me fill so sorry for you but you story inspired me to protect my self thank you jaylyn

Comment by: Andy (Tampa, FL) Thu., Feb. 3, 2011 at 3:23 am UTC
Raven your story is very extra ordinary! I know how you feel when you wake up and have to take those pills......My advice to you is to keep fighting and living each day like you're doing right now. Remember the good lord doesn't give us nothing we can't handle. Take care of your self :)
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Comment by: KENYATTA (MIAMI, FLORIDA) Thu., Dec. 9, 2010 at 12:20 pm UTC
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Comment by: juanita (johannesburg rsa) Sun., Nov. 7, 2010 at 3:36 pm UTC
hey raven just want to know how u doing because i see your story is updated in 2008..God has sent u my way im busy adopting a black baby girl from zimbabwe in africa she is now 18months and we tested her 2 weeks ago the results came back positive. u gave us so much hope uve grown into a beautiful teenager what a blessing!
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Comment by: regina (Joahnnesburg. SA) Sun., Sep. 26, 2010 at 2:50 pm UTC
I am really inspired. If only i have the courage like yours i would have changed million hearts. keep on doing the Good Work. May God give you more years and fufill your dreams.
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Comment by: regina (Joahnnesburg SA) Sun., Sep. 26, 2010 at 1:46 pm UTC
I am really inspired. If only i have the courage like yours i would have changed million hearts. keep on doing the Good Work. May God give you more years and fufill your dreams.
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Comment by: Rose (Nairobi,Kenya) Wed., Jun. 16, 2010 at 8:23 am UTC
Gal,may God satisfy you with long life.(Psalms 91:16)My nieces aged 17 and 10 were born with HIV,their mom died in 2003 but their dad has continued to support them.Enjoy your youth and take care.
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Comment by: ladyee (new jersey) Fri., Jun. 4, 2010 at 12:57 am UTC
I just found out that my son is HIV+. I was at a lost and was trying to be brave and supportive for him. I'm angry and depressed for I feel he doesn't deserve this. Your sharing has helped me tremendously. I thank you for being the brave young lady you are. I hope that my son and I can do as your mother states, "do what you have to do." Again thank you!!!
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Comment by: Kyandra Findlay (Brooklyn) Tue., Jan. 12, 2010 at 11:42 pm UTC
Raven this is KiKi we use to go to yabc together u culd have told me im not the type i didnt even know reading ur story i was shocked but it doesnt matter u are a human bein u have the right of living your life forget everybodys negativity god gave u a gift thats life and i want u to know im here for u as a friend if u need me just like i was in YABC
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Comment by: keya (seattle, WA) Thu., Nov. 12, 2009 at 1:16 am UTC
Hi, Raven. Thank you for sharing. I'm a black women born with it, as well. You are so brave. Right now, I am attending college. Well, it was hard for me growing up and relizig my strenghth with allot of negativity regarding my complex of idenity. I really thought your story was moving and how you were honest. I am now realzing that I shouldn't let HIV control me, my mother does not want me to disculse with other people but in order to heal I have to share my story with people.. still a battle, people be saying harsh stuff sometimes... but I do share when I feel safe (very rare) In regards to relationship, thank you for sharing, for me, I never really had a serous romantic relationship because of the fear of rejection and the emotinal distress of infecting people and would just feel horible. Well, as of now I am working on a paper about the impact hiv and aids has on lesbian, gay, men and women of color in partner relationships for enlish. Well, I hope all is well. Thank you for sharing, keya. Well, here is my email if you want to contact me Thank you for your story and soon one day I will have the courage to speak my story in public like this ;) thanx sista!
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Comment by: jay (columbia,sc) Tue., Aug. 11, 2009 at 8:50 pm UTC
hey raven..your story really lifted me. i'm 18 and just found out i'm preliminarily positive. i broke down cause i didn't know how to tell my family and friends. reading your story really really relieved me. you are an inspiration.
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Comment by: blanche (haiti) Tue., Jun. 23, 2009 at 4:57 pm UTC
u r a so very strong young lady,i did the same thing too ,but sometimes it brings tears in my eyes because still humanity don't know the true meaning of love...They be with u when u r ok, but the goes down...Most of the time, the guy whom i run away when i tell them about my situation but the one who really wants me is married but there is nothing i can do for him. we just become the best friends ever.
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Comment by: Shayleah Thanars (Houston,Tx) Mon., Jun. 22, 2009 at 4:11 pm UTC
I don't know you but I feel like I do from reading your profile. I think you're so brave, beautiful, and smart and my heart and prayers goes out to you. I wish I could hug you now. Although I do not have the virus, I can say you are a strong woman and I commend you 100% precent. When I found out I had HERPES and I would have it for the rest of my life I was devastated. I am so proud of you. I would like to write you via email but i'll let you decide if you want to become friends. My e mail is I gotta go, but my heart goes out to you and your family. I hope to hear from you.
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Comment by: Crystal (Newyork) Wed., May. 13, 2009 at 11:48 pm UTC
I respect your courage to just come out and just tell people that you are HIV positive and always rember god is always on your side... And alwaYs continue to inform and educate the Ignorant and those who want to learn more...
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Comment by: stephanie sawyer (jacksonville,fl) Fri., Apr. 17, 2009 at 11:02 pm UTC
continue to be the strong,brave angel that God put in this world. you were created for that purpose to be a light for so many other people. God loves you and so do I. REMEMBER GOD HAS SO MUCH TO GIVE YOU BECAUSE YOURE GIVING SO MUCH BACK. RAVEN MY EMAIL ADDRESS IS STEPHANIE-39@LIVE.COM WRITE ME LOVE TO TALK TO YOU.
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Comment by: Ty Queena Johnson (Brooklyn, N.Y) Sun., Apr. 12, 2009 at 10:32 pm UTC
Owow!!! that's a very touch'n story. it's good 2 hear a young person talk about things like that. it inspires people to go get tested and to ask their partner questions and to get them tested...You are a strong girl you...You have been through so much and you are still strong. that's good...Your story really touched me and brought a tear to my eye cause I have a friend in the same situation as you and I always let her know no matter what she gonna always be my friend and I'll love her when no one else will
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Comment by: I (seattle) Thu., Apr. 2, 2009 at 4:36 pm UTC
Raven u are a very strong girl i am sure God is with u all the time! Take care o your self
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Comment by: Lilli (Florence,ORegon) Thu., Feb. 5, 2009 at 4:37 pm UTC
Raven i think your a truly amazing person and that your story will really help a lot of people out there who are struggling. It's good to hear such a positive story.
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Comment by: amerah (SAUDI ARABIA) Mon., Feb. 2, 2009 at 1:16 am UTC
U CAN DO IT!!!!!
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Comment by: wanda inman (winter haven ,fl) Thu., Jan. 22, 2009 at 10:49 am UTC
Raven, I think you are a very brave and courageous young adult lady to even come forth and share your story. Many young women of your age bracket will keep something like that to themselves and continue to spread "The Monster". I really admire you. To me you are focused and have the right people in your life for moral support. Most of all, Thank God, we have people who are educated on this stuff to keep it under control and manageable to live your life to the fullest. e-mail at Keep looking up to hills.
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Comment by: LEILA (MOMBASA, KENYA) Wed., Jan. 21, 2009 at 7:43 am UTC
it's not her wish to be born like that, take courage and God is with u and with God everything is possible.
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Comment by: Mobe Kgatla (South Africa) Wed., Jan. 21, 2009 at 6:45 am UTC
Gal. Your story blew me over. I read your mother's story first then yours. You are such a courageous young gal but you know what, You are a start. Mxwa
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Comment by: trinidadian Girl (trinidad) Tue., Dec. 30, 2008 at 11:10 am UTC
I'm a Trinidadian, i would like to know her link to trinidad though. I think that she is a courageous girl and i am pround of her stringth. However being HIV negative,I would like to be informed if I intent to have a sexual realtionship with someone if they are HIV positive. It is unfair to take that decision away from some who is negative. As a HIV negative person i want to decide for my self if i am willing to take the risk. Suppose the condom broke! I could only imagine how that poor guy felt when he was told because its only human that you would feel scared until you are tested and retested to be sure thats six months of distress that could of been avoided.
And to be honest being 14 is wayyyyyyy to young to be engaging in sexual activity, that is not acceptable in Trinidad.
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Comment by: Raven (bk) Tue., Nov. 11, 2008 at 2:38 pm UTC
Thanks, everybody.
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Comment by: Mia Roman Hernandez (New York City) Wed., Aug. 27, 2008 at 12:17 pm UTC
I love this website. I am an advocate for healthy and longer living for the youth. I try to incorporate the arts in everything i do and ahs proven to be quite successful with the youth community. I am having a YOuth AIDS awareness event in NYC on October 11th 2008 and would like to know how i can connect with some of the youth that are listed on this site. I would like to personally invite them to my event and hopefully participate as guest speakers or performers. If they are poets we will have poetry, if they are artists we have art, if they are public advocate speakers the stage is theirs. I am looking for this event to be a fun filled event with a focus on awarenes and prevention. I have a FREE HIV testing van on site, pamphlets, guest speakers, etc. I am hoping to get the youth to be involved and be the leaders to their peers. Lets spread the word together instead of the virus.
my contact e-mail is
I can send a proposal and more info for anyone intersted.
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