I was born and raised in Monte Plata, a province of the Dominican Republic where Project HOPE supports a maternal and child health clinic. Life was not easy for me growing up, but I made it into a university. Just a few semesters before completing my degree in arts in 2001, what I thought was a blessing came into my life. I found a partner, – a man whom I thought had good intentions toward me. Just one year later he became sick and confessed to me that he was HIV+.
In 2003, my partner passed away. That same year Project HOPE and the Clinica Orden de Malta in Monte Plata opened their doors to me. They were looking for someone who could act as an HIV counselor and could speak from her/his experience with the disease, but that maintained a positive attitude and good sense of humor.
Thanks to Teresa Narvaez, Project HOPE’s Country Director for the Dominican Republic, I received additional trainings. Today I can say, thanks to her, I do my job with a smile on my face.
- I work with pregnant women who are HIV+
- I host workshops and focus groups to speak about HIV prevention
- I visit community members who have been identified as HIV+
Now I am very happy because, although I have been living with HIV for more than 11 years, I am able to see life with optimism. I have been able to help many HIV+ patients and families – teaching them how to be healthy and be positive about living with their condition. You can live with HIV and be useful to others.
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