As we've traveled around the U.S. to meet people living with HIV and record their stories, we've seen a recurring theme emerge among the younger people we interview. In a time where the Trump Administration is threatening to roll back the rights of LGBTQ individuals and an alarming 48% of gay, lesbian, and bisexual young people report that they seriously considered attempting suicide, we’re seeing this community increasingly find strength in itself.
The people we interview often reflect upon their post-diagnosis journeys in a way that highlights community, mental health, and the unique challenges marginalized individuals face when confronted with an HIV diagnoses. A lot of queer young people are candidly and unapologetically sharing their stories -- and unpacking their trauma, mental health, and path to healing -- in a way that makes themselves and their communities stronger.
The brief clips we share here reflect the types of experiences that intersect the mental, economic, political, and social challenges faced by young people -- particularly people from marginalized communities -- when they are diagnosed with HIV. In each clip, you'll see a person answering the question, "What have you learned about yourself since your diagnosis?"
These interviews were recorded in 2018 in Orlando, Florida, and Los Angeles, California. Daisy Becerra coordinated both shoots. On-site video direction and camerawork was performed by Jens Bishop. Video production and editing were performed by Jens Bishop and Alex Portaluppi. English-language interviews were conducted by Nasreen Alkhateeb. Los Angeles interviews were facilitated by Richard L. Zaldivar, Andres Magaña, and Angela Cristobal of The Wall Las Memorias, as well as Gil Diaz of the Los Angeles LGBT Center. Recruitment for the Orlando interviews was performed by Giuliani Alvarenga, Kevin Maloney, and Tiffany Marrero.