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Maria T. Mejia

Time to Show My Face and Take the Stigma Away


I Am Not an Ugly Scorpion! HIV Ads That Add to the Stigma
March 9, 2011

Well, well, well. Where the hell do I start??? I am going to try to be as nice and sweet as possible! I had to give myself a day to write this.

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Ignorance and My Beauty Salon Experience: The Time to Educate Can Happen When You Least Expect!
February 14, 2011

So yeah! I was looking forward to a nice relaxing day! Away from everything ... just a place where they could pamper me ... release some stress. YES! The beauty salon ... yay ... getting my hair done, my hands and feet done. Just time for little old me to get away from daily life ... and of course, my job or mission never has a break.

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Here We Go Again: Lab Results and My Fears
February 7, 2011

Here we go again! Yes, that is what I always say to myself. Every 4 to 6 months I go through this s**t !! After so long, I should be used to this, but I am not! I have so much fear and anxiety like 1 week, or even longer, before I go to see my doctor for the results ... I am a very positive person, but I am human and I have my fears! Especially when I see people around me telling me their T cells went down and their viral load is up ... And my worst fear, they have become resistant to the medication that they are used to already! I mean give me, them, all of us, a break! And then again, who am I to freaking complain?! Do I just want to have the perfect life with this illness?? Which would be FINE to being HIV positive! Even taking my medication ... but without all the things that come with it! Like no side effects, no body changes, no toxicity, no resistance, just a medication I can take even if it's for the rest of my life ... but knowing that my immune system will be OK and viral load will be dormant.

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Does HIV Cause AIDS? Denialism vs. Pro-ARVs: A "Debate"
January 27, 2011

It started as a simple status on my Facebook page where I just put "FOR ME IT'S VERY HARD!!! TO TAKE HIV MEDS ... IT'S NOT SIMPLE! IT'S NOT EASY ... THEY DO SAVE OUR LIVES BUT HAVE VERY HARSH SIDE EFFECTS!" Well before I knew it, I had a scientist (a good friend), a doctor, a person that said he tested HIV positive and was showing me videos of all these other doctors and scientists that say HIV does not cause AIDS, and that the medication is killing us. I also had a very nice lady from the UK that is also positive along with her husband and also takes her meds.

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Why I Want to Show My Face After 20 Years
January 26, 2011

I am ready to show my face for many reasons! After the cycles that we go through with HIV/AIDS ... the denial, realizing I was not dying after all ... came the shame and hiding. I also started with the lies ... that I believe came from my mother trying to protect me, saying tell everyone I have something else (another illness like lupus etc etc)! Well after so much hiding, lying, the SHAME! Something really deep happened before 2011 came. My partner's sister passed away from cancer and this was so terrible :(. I thought to myself, and asked myself, WHY can't I say I have HIV?? Why is it that anyone can say they have cancer or diabetes or any other health condition and I am so scared to disclose openly without having that fear?

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HIV/AIDS, Neuropathy, Painkillers (My Personal Hell)
January 21, 2011

Well, where do I start!? I guess pain ... physical and mental. One of the situations that we face with HIV/AIDS is pain ... from neuropathy, aging, etc., etc. I myself was on pain medication -- exactly, Oxycodone. Well, 8 years ago when one of the doctors I saw prescribed it to me, he never told me how addictive it was!!! I wish I knew then what I know now!! I have suffered sometimes more with this little pill than with the HIV/AIDS virus ... that, by the way, I started with half a pill (5 mgs) and ended up with maybe taking 80 mgs a day! This is over an 8-year period as I said. You see, this pill comes in different forms. Names I know: Morphine, roxycodone, oxycodone, oxycontin, codeine, tramal, percodan, etc., etc.

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
January 19, 2011

Yes, many may think there is nothing positive in being positive ... but as I have always been taught, and believe, even from something bad or tragic, we can find something good, something to learn from and something that makes us stronger. I am not going to sit here and write that i don't cry sometimes and feel hopeless. I just went through it this week when I got back from my vacation to Disney. I learned that a very close friend and founder of Red Hispana, an organization here in south Florida, had passed.:( Every time this happens, it really shakes me. I know that we are all going to die, but when someone dies from HIV that I have seen with my own eyes was doing well (well, at least the last time I saw them), it really scares me. I get very very scared. You see, having HIV/AIDS is a process. You go through different cycles. I can say I don't feel the same way as I did 10 years ago ... I was healthier and stronger than now. And it's not that I am sick, but I have neuropathy which hurts and it's caused by HIV meds ... one of the reasons also why I take coenzyme Q10 (I talk about it a little in one of my responses in my last blog and give some tips on natural medication).

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Maria's Intro
January 13, 2011

I was just turning 18 when I found out I was HIV positive ... I was very young. Back in those days, this was a death sentence. It was around the same time Magic Johnson came out saying he was positive. I was studying in a program in Kentucky named Job Corp and they did HIV testings to all the students that came in new. I remember before all of us kids were getting tested I was answering all the questions correct about HIV (how ironic). To me, this was a disease for prostitutes, drug users or homosexuals so I never thought I would ever be positive. A month passed and I kept on getting slips from the clinic telling me to come in. As I started getting homesick, I went to the clinic, and boom, there I remember an Asian doctor looking at me with eyes of horror ... asking me, why didn't you come sooner? I answered like any teen would: "I don't know." Well he sat me down and he didn't even prepare me! He just said "You have AIDS."

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This article was provided by The Well Project. Visit The Well Project's Web site to learn more about their resources and initiatives for women living with HIV. The Well Project shares its content with TheBody.com to ensure all people have access to the highest quality treatment information available. The Well Project receives no advertising revenue from TheBody.com or the advertisers on this site. No advertiser on this site has any editorial input into The Well Project's content.
 
See Also
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

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Time to Show My Face and Take the Stigma Away


Maria T. Mejia

Maria T. Mejia

I am a 37-year-old Colombian female who lives in Miami, Florida. I've been positive for 20 years. Although almost all my life I've been in long-term relationships with HIV-negative men, I am happily married to a woman who is wonderful and caring. We have been together almost three years and she is HIV negative. I have no children but we will look into having! I am an activist, a peer educator, a caregiver. I volunteered for the Red Cross in education for the Hispanic HIV community and also the American community. I was a pre- and post-test counselor. I have spoken in many conferences and done a lot of outreach in the community, especially in the schools for prevention and education. It is part of my everyday life to educate everyone I can on this subject. Being HIV positive is nothing to be ashamed about! We are strong women, and we will take away all the stigmas slowly but we have to open up.

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Read more blogs by women living with HIV/AIDS at "A Girl Like Me"

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The Well Project shares its content with TheBody.com to ensure all people have access to the highest quality treatment information available. The Well Project receives no advertising revenue from TheBody.com or the advertisers on this site. No advertiser on this site has any editorial input into The Well Project's content.


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