New York, New York
Positive since 1996
I ran away from home in 1996, the year that I became HIV positive, because back then, the life expectancy was five years. So I decided to live life to the fullest, left everything behind in Mexico and moved to New York City to experience freedom, sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll.
Luckily, along the way I met a guy who told me about GMHC [(Gay Men’s Health Crisis]). I didn’t want to start treatment because I knew AZT was like poison for your body, but I went to GMHC with an open mind. They told me I had to start treatment right away if I didn’t want to risk going from having HIV to AIDS.
So thank God I started treatment. I was allergic to some of the medication, but once they found the right mix, my viral load became undetectable. I’ve stayed like that ever since. I take vitamins with my medication. A doctor told me to take CoQ10 (coenzyme Q10), DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) and alpha-lipoic acid. Maybe that’s the reason I have never had any problems. I’m very thankful to God and to technology because it’s been more than 20 years of living a very healthy and happy life with HIV.
I always said that having a positive attitude and mindset will also help your body stay strong.
What three adjectives best describe you?
Happy. Creative. Loving.
What is your greatest achievement?
Finding the love of my life. I got married last September to my best friend.
What is your greatest regret?
Running away from home and not growing older with my family.
What keeps you up at night?
Sometimes, my own insecurities.
If you could change one thing about living with HIV, what would it be?
Some side effects from the medications.
What is the best advice you ever received?
To take care of myself and start medication.
What person in the HIV/AIDS community do you most admire?
Actor Charlie Sheen. He faced the people who were blackmailing him for being HIV positive and put his acting career at risk but succeeded in the end.
What drives you to do what you do?
My passion for art. I’m a photographer and actor, so you need passion for life.
What is your motto?
Respect and treat people the same way you want to be treated.
If you had to evacuate your house immediately, what is the one thing you would grab on the way out?
My engagement ring.
If you could be any animal, what would you be? And why?
A dog because they are loyal and smart.