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Lives with HIV / AIDS in Mexico, faces and testimonies



The tenth international scientific conference of the international community of aids (IAS) began on Sunday in Mexico City with the participation of scientists, doctors, activists and authorities who will discuss the latest treatments and problems socially linked to this disease.

AFP interviewed and made portraits of patients from Clínica Condesa located in the popular Iztapalapa sector in the capital, where they receive free medical treatment.

"Ballast" of not knowing

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Carlos Gámez, a 32-year-old Cuban studying art in Mexico City, was diagnosed in 201

7, shortly before the trip, testing for HIV / AIDS but alopecia. led him to a new audit, he gave positive.

"I literally do not know how I became infected and it is something that weighs down like a human being. At that moment when they say you are HIV positive, it is important that you remember. I am gay, I am a risk group, I have always protected myself, but there are some methods where you do not do it in the heat of the situation, "she tells AFP.

She softly describes her experience of living with AIDS within everyone He is "positive," his parents support him, he has a good health. "I simply accepted my state, now I ask myself about my life, how it will be the contact, my relationships, with other people."

Accept me as I am "

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José Antonio Arteaga, 57, is a mexican of humble extraction, son of very conservative peasants, with few studies and working on everything they offer. Two years ago he was attacked by "an unbearable cough, throw mucus." He was hospitalized for 20 days.

"I can remember ( in the 1980s) "How will we" cure "HIV?

" I remember (in the 1980s) It was talk of "gay cancer". I already knew that I was gay, but because of my dad, who is very tough and hit us, I was afraid to say so and because of that fear I reported a little, sometimes I protected myself and others no, " he explains.

Because of his precarious economic situation, he lives in the family at home, and his brothers support him in the difficult relationship with his father. "When I argued with him I said," I'm gay, I'm gay, and if You really want to accept me as I am, I want to count on you, "she says through tears.

Emotions "break"

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Claudia Lorenzo Cabrera, a 38-year-old merchant, was separated by three children, contracted the virus under a stable relationship after to have separated, and after the separation she decided to take an HIV test.

"Something said to me" I have to do that test. "And it came out positively. I was looking for it but is very reluctant to be tested. It seems so unfair, it was not just cheating, but spreading a disease," he explains with a sad face that contrasts with the gesture. and the smile that he showed before the camera.

Thanks to the treatment, the burden of HIV Claudia is already "undetectable" or indigestible, but she prefers to leave her emotional and sexual life "in anticipation". "I want to live for my daughters. A boy told me to" do not worry, I will take care of you and I will take care of myself, "but I still dare not."

Denial

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Víctor Martínez has 42 years old and is engaged in sales. In 2013, after stopping a stable relationship, he went to donate blood and there he warned that he had tested positive for HIV.

"He gave me denial and I spent three years saying" this is not true, this is not happening "I cried, I got angry, the only thing I did was wash everything with chlorine, then I had relationships with others, but where I remembered and took care not to affect them, when I presented the symptoms I came to the clinic and I began to treat myself, he says.

Victor is gay and does not lose his smile when he speaks effusively, he says he was always taken care of, but in the stable relationship he was infected. "He had AIDS, but he never told me, I saw pills (antiretrovirals), I asked him and he would answer any nonsense, I believed him , he was in love. "

Inform about preventing

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Cassandra Guazo, stylist, sex worker and transgender activist of 38 years, receives hormone therapy in Countess, where she is also exposed HIV control
"I am an activist for trans-women's rights in Mexico, one of the most offended at Latin American level," she said with a firm voice.

She is the director of HIV prevention at the Trans Identity Support Center, "We managed to get to places where there is no access to a condom, to a quick test," explains regret that the new government has cut resources into civilian organizations.


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