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Hi I’m Alejandro. Growing up as a migrant farm worker, we had to follow where the work was. But once I graduated in 1984, oh gosh I escaped. To me, it was escape. I left for the army. My brothers didn’t think I was gonna make it but I proved them wrong and the most fun part was jumping out of airplanes in the military. In the 80s, I lost most of my friends to AIDS, then the 90s I lost more friends. Dealing with HIV in 1993, that was difficult. I hated life then, I really did. Let me tell you, I went into a deep depression I wouldn’t the door, wouldn’t answer the phone calls, nothing. Go to work, go back to my apartment, and it was getting lonely. I didn’t think that I could be any good to anyone because I was thinking about HIV all the time. So I decided to go ahead and do something for others and I found these community organizations and I turned right around and I realized that it was helping others that made a difference. I wasn’t thinking about HIV anymore. Living with HIV does not define who I am. Helping others takes my mind off of that. And you don’t have to feel alone because you’re not. Now it’s been 18 years and here I am. And life is good, it feels great. I’m Alejandro and I’m Greater than AIDS.

Alejandro is a veteran, leader in his local community and has lived with HIV for over 20 years. After losing many friends to AIDS-related illnesses in the 1980’s and 90’s, he felt lonely and isolated when he tested positive. Getting involved and volunteering helped Alejandro find meaning and happiness in his life again. “Living with HIV does not define who I am. Helping others does.”

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Knowing the facts and talking openly about HIV helps end stigma. Having the support of loved ones improves the health and well-being of people living with HIV.

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