Living with HIV – A Latino Perspective
Jose Ramirez is a 22-year-old young man from Mexico, shared how his life has changed since he found out he had HIV in June 2017.
In the 1980’s, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) epidemic was causing widespread panic. People with HIV were rapidly progressing to AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome), and many were dying.
Today, many advances in science have allowed for treatments and medications that effectively treat HIV. Today, diagnosed individuals can lead long normal healthy lives with the help of medications.
Jose Ramirez is a 22-year-old young man from Mexico, living in the United States. He shared how his life has changed since he found out he had HIV in June 2017. According to Jose, being diagnosed with HIV was extremely difficult; he believed he was going to die. Since his diagnosis, he has cut down on many social activities and has also distanced himself from his friends. Being diagnosed with HIV comes with an undeniable fear of being stigmatized, that it affects an individual’s ability to remain close to friends and family. Jose distanced himself from his friends after some of his closest friends turned their backs on him because of his status.
Coming from a family with a strong religious background, Jose was not accepted by his mother when he first came out as a gay man. Fortunately, as time has passed, he feels like all his immediate family have come to accept and support him.
Based on his experience, Jose would advise those affected by HIV to seek all types of help, especially psychological help. He reflected on the depression he experienced and said he would urge individuals to seek help in Centers that offer resources, such as TruEvolution, where he volunteers as a mentor, Desert AIDS Project and Bienestar. “Knowing that you’re not the only young individual diagnosed means a lot. Seeing that others have endured it makes you feel like you will be able to as well,” says Jose. Jose is a practicing Catholic and despite the backlash he says can exist against gays by the church—his faith remains in God.
If you or someone who you know has HIV/AIDS, or you would like to be tested, please reach out to the Foothill Aids Project at fapinfo.org and/or TruEvolution at truevolution.org for more resources and support.
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