https://www.thebody.com/article/positive-life-interview-michelle-lopez
African-AmericansPersonal Stories

This Positive Life: An Interview With Michelle Lopez

    Michelle Lopez
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    This podcast is a part of the series This Positive Life. To subscribe to this series, click here. Michelle Lopez
    About Michelle
    Home: Brooklyn, N.Y.
    Diagnosed: 1991
    "The population of people that I work with, it's the same pathway that I came from. I am identifying a lot of individuals who are undocumented immigrants, who have been living here in this country, who don't have any health insurance."
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    "I disclose my status, and I talk to people about who I am. It's not about me, but I use my life in the examples: Now I'm in health care. I have 20 years of living with HIV under my belt. I'm _living_. ... I _am_ somebody."
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    "I knew about HIV a whole lot, but I knew about it because most of my gay friends were dying from this disease. ... I remember these guys saying to me, 'Oh, Michelle, you have nothing to worry about. Thank God you don't have to worry about this.'"
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    "My vulnerability was because of my immigrant status. I was under this impression that this man, my daughter's father, really did love me ... And after me and him marrying, I would have gotten a green card."
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    Michelle and her daughter, Raven.
    Michelle and her daughter, Raven.
    Michelle Lopez.
    Michelle Lopez.
    "The secret to my survival is not a secret. The secret to my survival is that I _want_ to live. I have gotten access to care and treatment. I have support from my friends. I have support from my family. Disclosure is not an issue in my life. ... I'm not ashamed."
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    Michelle's daughter and son, Raven and Rondell.
    Michelle's daughter and son, Raven and Rondell.
    "One of the outcomes is that Raven really had a very difficult time being schooled as a child living with the virus. Because people were more concerned about the virus than with educating this child."
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    "I know whose shoulders I stand on. I know of the people who died to help me, or to give me that opportunity -- the laws that we have today that protect people."
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    "This person that you're seeing here, this secure person that you're seeing here; this just didn't happen overnight. I had to build trust with certain people. And I did that."
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    "I _have_ a degree behind my name: my life experiences."
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    Bonnie Goldman