October/November #191 : A Test of Kindness - by Casey Halter

POZ - Health, Life and HIV
Subscribe to:
POZ magazine
Join POZ: Facebook MySpace Twitter Pinterest
Tumblr Google+ Flickr MySpace
POZ Personals
Sign In / Join

Back to home » Archives » POZ Magazine issues

Table of Contents


¡El SIDA Sí Da!

Cut to Fit

From the Editor

Rie y Llora


Letters-October/November 2013


Unidos Podemos

POZ Planet

Thank You, Sean Sasser

On the March

Get Lucky

Friend Request

Then There Were None

Why Should Gay and Bi Latino Men Get Tested?

Say What? Zombie Edition


Obamacare is Here

Care and Treatment

Reduced Dose of Sustiva Succeeds

New Ways to Beat Gonorrhea

Lower Bone Density Linked to Number of ARV Regimens

No Detectable HIV in Two Men After Stem Cell Transplants

WHO Revises Treatment Guidelines

Research Notes

Prevention: HIV Test May Help Improve Vaccines

Treatment: Normal Mortality Risk if Undetectable?

Cure: Cord Blood Transplant Aftermath

Concerns: Early Treatment in Developing World

POZ Heroes

A Test of Kindness

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

email print

October / November 2013

A Test of Kindness

by Casey Halter

Maria Mejia Maria Mejia was 18 years old when she found out she was HIV positive in 1991. She had just entered a job-training program in Kentucky, which provided free HIV testing. The program was supposed to be a new beginning for the Miami-born teen, who sought a fresh start from an abusive and troubled childhood.

Mejia assumes she got HIV from her first boyfriend, the leader of her former gang. After doctors told her she had AIDS and that AZT, the only HIV treatment at the time, could be harmful, Maria decided to forgo medication and move back with her parents, expecting to die.

Twenty-four years later, Mejia is doing well on treatment, although she still struggles with side effects and mental challenges from the virus. She now volunteers for the Red Cross and works in the Miami area as a pre- and post-counselor who tests people for HIV.

“When I tell someone they are HIV positive,” Mejia says, “I hold them and say, ‘You are not alone, and if you do what you are supposed to do you will live a long life.’”

Mejia is part of an anti-stigma campaign for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and is an ambassador for both Dab the AIDS Bear Project and The Stigma Project. She also advocates for LGBT issues.

The Colombian-American activist blogs regularly in both English and Spanish for The Well Project and TheBody.com and is in the process of writing a memoir.

What three words best describe you?
Fighter, activist and passionate.

What is your greatest achievement?
When I inspire young people with my story and they tell me they are now protecting themselves. If I save one life, my mission is complete.

If you could change one thing about living with HIV, what would it be?
No more medicine. I want a cure. Or at least live with the virus but take something once that won’t let the virus affect our T cells.

What is the best advice you ever received?
Talk less, listen more. To forgive is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. To wish light and love to everyone—even the ones that attack us or hurt us. It is important for our spirit.

If you had to evacuate your house immediately, what is the one thing you would grab on the way out?
Besides my beautiful partner/wife Lisa Laing and my dog Flea, I would grab my jewelry.

Search: Maria Mejia, Miami, Florida, Red Cross, Dab the AIDS Bear Project, The Stigma Project

Scroll down to comment on this story.


(will display; 2-50 characters)


(will NOT display)


(will display; optional)

Comment (500 characters left):

(Note: The POZ team reviews all comments before they are posted. Please do not include either ":" or "@" in your comment. The opinions expressed by people providing comments are theirs alone. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Smart + Strong, which is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by people providing comments.)

Comments require captcha.
Please enter this number for verification:

| Posting Rules

Hide comments

Previous Comments:

  comments 1 - 3 (of 3 total)    

jorge, miami, 2013-10-31 10:01:02
I all ready make a coment on maria story, wonderfull, I dont know how and were to make a coment regarding Obama Care, did you really think that any any any of the Obama Care will pay $2,338,90 for my meds. every month. (stribil)for the rest of my life with, 28 years living whit HIV. can you answer that, I dont think sooooooooo, thanks I am very looky to have a job that offered ins. other wise no way jose that i will get meds whit Obama Care, have a great day.

Butch McKay, Ft. Walton Beach, FL, 2013-10-29 11:08:26
You are truly amazing and your story is your strength. Thank you for making it your mission to support and protect others. Your passion is complemented by your compassion. Your greatest achievemnt has been met many times over and will continue to repeat itself. You are an angel to so many Maria. May love continue to sustain you and push you to greatness.

jorge, miami, 2013-10-29 09:11:38
maria que muchas bendiciones parati siempre, eres un ser especial con una fuerza espiritual increible, me identifico con tus experiencia, fortaleza y esperanza,ejemplo a seguir, gracias, gracias, y que el dios de tu entendimiento te de larga vida para que otros seres humanos se ayuden con tu testimonio y podamos ver la cura o alguna vacuna que sea efectiva para no tener que tomar diariamente medicina, sin conocerte en persona te admiro y te quiero mucho, gracias grcias, gracias

comments 1 - 3 (of 3 total)    

[Go to top]

Facebook Twitter Google+ MySpace YouTube Tumblr Flickr Instagram
Quick Links
Current Issue

HIV Testing
Safer Sex
Find a Date
Newly Diagnosed
HIV 101
Disclosing Your Status
Starting Treatment
Help Paying for Meds
Search for the Cure
POZ Stories
POZ Opinion
POZ Exclusives
Read the Blogs
Visit the Forums
Job Listings
Events Calendar
POZ on Twitter

Ask POZ Pharmacist

Talk to Us
Did you participate in an event for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2016?


more surveys
Contact Us
We welcome your comments!
[ about Smart + Strong | about POZ | POZ advisory board | partner links | advertising policy | advertise/contact us | site map]
© 2016 Smart + Strong. All Rights Reserved. Terms of use and Your privacy.
Smart + Strong® is a registered trademark of CDM Publishing, LLC.