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Maria T. Mejia

Time to Show My Face and Take the Stigma Away

It's Friday ... and I Still Have HIV
March 16, 2012

Current global statistics state that an estimated 34 million people globally are living with human immunodeficiency virus, the virus that causes AIDS. In the thirty years since the discovery of the virus, much has changed, yet so many continue to struggle to live with the disease, a disease that science still does not completely know how to fight. I get up and make my breakfast. I think about a birthday party I will attend over the weekend. I think about what I will wear, I think about the gift I will bring. I look into my living room, and laugh at my two Chihuahua's, excited about something outside the window, and it makes me smile. Then I get my med box and vitamins and remember that I stilll have HIV. For those two minutes, I let my mind wander to a place where HIV was not present, but after twenty one years since my diagnosis, I know my HIV will never go away, I know it will always be with me -- unless they find a cure.

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My Trip to Colombia and the Importance for Our Health to Disconnect
March 5, 2012

I just got back from my country Colombia and had a beautiful spiritual connection with mother nature ... I disconnected from everything!

This is so important for our health! Not only have I been really taking care of my body -- I stopped smoking, started eating organic and very healthy -- but learning to stop and look at the beautiful gift that is nature and connecting to it as one. This was a total spiritual medication for me.

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Tomando Medicina Alternativa en Combinación con los ARVs: Mi Historia (Vídeo)
20 de diciembre de 2011

Que medicina naturista y alternativa use durante mis primeros 10 anos de ser positiva sin medicina para el vih, y que he hecho durante estos 11 anos tomando medicina alternativa en combinacion con los arvs.

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Alternative Treatments I Did for First 10 Years Without HIV Meds and What I'm Doing Now
December 20, 2011

Please see my video blog about what alternative treatments I did for the first 10 years without HIV medicine, and what I have been doing for the past 11 years -- combining alternative treatment and HIV medicine.

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Remembering Ryan White and Thoughts on Milton Hershey School
December 7, 2011

Today I am remembering one of my biggest inspirations and warriors! Ryan White. He is an angel and someone who has inspired me to fight for injustice. He just wanted to go to school and fought for it when he was discriminated against for having HIV. It is incredible to me that we are 30 years into this illness and the Milton Hershey School is not letting a young boy go to school because of his condition.

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World AIDS Day (My Thoughts)
November 23, 2011

World AIDS Day has become one of the most recognized international health days, and a key opportunity to raise awareness, commemorate those who have passed on, and celebrate victories such as increased access to treatment and prevention services.

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When Our Lab Results Are Not Normal
October 13, 2011

Well, my latest lab work showed that my ALT and AST levels are a little up! This has to do with my liver enzymes. When I received the news and read my lab work and saw that my enzymes were up, I freaked out! I mean I really got unbalanced and very anxious and nervous! We, as HIV positive people, always have to go through this every time we get our blood work done! I have been through this for 20 years and as the years pass and more of the meds are in our system, actually it is a scarier feeling for me!

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Prevention of Fat Loss and Lipoatrophy of the Face
October 3, 2011

Yes, many people are very afraid to start their HIV medications because of lipoatrophy or lipodistrophy (fat loss or gaining fat in some areas). Well there are many options now. One of the most important parts of a person's body is their face. This is like the cover of a magazine, and how we represent ourselves! Many people feel very depressed because they lose fat in their face and become stigmatized by it! Although medication is better today as it was 20 years ago, I use Sculptra to prevent fat loss in my face. I see the pain in peoples' eyes when they suffer from this. It makes them very depressed and makes them want to hide! Once they get their face back, I see them thriving, working, loving everything.

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My Story With Medication
August 17, 2011

I've been HIV positive for 20 years, 10 of them without any HIV meds; and for the last 10 years I have been on HIV medication. If I could go back 20 years, I wouldn't change a thing. I really believe (and this is only my opinion) that not taking the high dosages of AZT (Retrovir, zidovudine) that were offered 20 years ago saved my life.

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Not Everyone Is an Activist (and Updates on My New Regimen of Atripla)
July 8, 2011

YES! Not everyone is an activist! And we must respect this ... not all people are prepared to come out of their HIV closet because others want them to. They are not less than anyone -- many of them are still dealing with the shame that comes with the illness. Or they are trying to protect their family members -- especially when there is so much ignorance and stigma with HIV/AIDS. We have to respect other peoples' choices and views. We are their role models ... so if we have it in us to be activists and advocate, let us do that for those that don't feel prepared or ready yet. Or maybe they will never be. And it's not because they don't want to fight for the cause.

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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 to ensure all people have access to the highest quality treatment information available. The Well Project receives no advertising revenue from 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

Time to Show My Face and Take the Stigma Away

Maria T. Mejia

Maria T. Mejia

I am a 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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The Well Project shares its content with to ensure all people have access to the highest quality treatment information available. The Well Project receives no advertising revenue from 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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