Friday, September 30, 2016

Fighting HIV through social media

At the recent National Lesbian Gay Journalists Association conference in Miami, I heard Maria Mejia tell her story, how she uses her HIV positive diagnosis to raise awareness and share the realities of living with the virus.

"You get no breaks,'' she said. "It's not easy but it's not going to kill you if you do what you're supposed to do, which is take your medicine, live a healthy lifestyle, try to be a person that is productive, work out, drink lots of water and just live intensely one day at a time."

She had a tell-like-it-is manner that was raw and engaging. She stood out from the panel of doctors, researchers and advocates.

Maria is very open about her status. Using the handle @MariaHIVMejia, she records videos on Youtube, blogs, and posts updates on Facebook and Twitter to help lessen the stigma.

Her story stayed with me and I decided to follow up with a profile on her for the Sun Sentinel.

(Photo by Amy Beth Bennett/ Sun Sentinel)