Ana: My name is Ana, and I’m married with two kids. I was in a relationship for about maybe seven years. Everything was good until one day I got a phone call and it was the other girl calling to see if she was going to go out with him that night. And I was like, excuse me, who’s this? Do you have the right number? I threw all his stuff out and I kind of just stayed by myself for a while and then I started feeling sick, like just like one of those coughs that you can’t get rid of and I went to go get checked and the doctor was let’s run some tests, but in my heart and in my head, I already knew that I had HIV. Telling my parents that I was HIV positive. I guess it’s just that fear, I didn’t want to disappoint them.
Felix: Pues, cuando…eso es algo que no se me quita de la mente. Pero sí recuerdo que le dije a ella que pues ni modo, era algo que ella no se lo había buscado. [Well, that’s something I’ll never forget. I remember telling her that it wasn’t her fault.]
Ana: Estoy tan orgullosa de ti. [I’m proud of you.]
Felix: Yo también, hija. [I am of you, daughter.]
Ana: ¿De verdad? [Really?]
Felix: Tu sabes que si. [You know it.]
Ana: My dad’s like, you’re my daughter. I love you. It’s not your fault, what happened, happened. We’ll get through this. We’ll get through this like we’ve gotten through everything else in life, everything, ups and downs. We’re a family and we’re going to get through it.
Felix: Ya después de que ella entró en eso sí empecé un poquito a tener más conocimiento de la enfermedad. [After she was diagnosed with the disease I started to learn more about it.]
Ana: It gives me a lot of comfort, a lot, knowing that my parents were there, you know, knowing that my mom was there for me, knowing that I could call her when I didn’t feel like taking my medication.
Felix: Pues la alentábamos que tenía que seguir los tratamientos porque era para su bien. Nosotros también si estamos tomando medicamentos y no nos lo tomamos pues entonces podía pasar algo malo, verdad, con uno. Entonces “así como nosotros tomamos los medicamentos tú también debes de…y más que nada por tus hijos”. [We used to encourage her to keep taking her medication because it was for her own good. If we stop taking our medications, then something bad could happen to us. So, we used to say to her, “If we have to take our medication then you have to do it as well… Most of all for your children.”]
Ana: No, you like a girl? Oh you didn’t tell me. See dad, he tells the truth.
Felix: And you? Not you too? No, I hope not.
Ana: You’re the only one that can fight for your own choices, for your own medical needs. So you’ve gotta push yourself to do it. You’ve gotta be strong enough and you’ve gotta want to live. What would you say to her if she were here right now?
Son: Hola. [Hello.]
Ana: My parents are super important and they’ve taught us you’ve just gotta be strong and you’ve gotta keep going, that it’s not always rainbows and sunshine. There’s always stormy weather and stuff, but it’s in that time that you’ve gotta show your strength, that you’ve gotta show that willpower to keep going.
Felix: Pues en realidad porque quiero que más padres sepan, verdad, que esto no es algo que ya porque agarró la enfermedad se va a morir mañana o pasado. Que al contrario, si uno los apoya y está más con ellos, puede darle más ánimo para seguir adelante. [I want more parents to understand that just because someone gets infected it doesn’t mean that they’re going to die tomorrow or the day after. On the contrary, if we support them more and we spend more time with them then we can give them the strength to keep going.]
Ana: I’m doing great. I am undetectable. I am healthy. It takes a supporting family. It takes medication, doctors. It takes the person, the want to live. I am happily married with this wonderful man who is not HIV positive. We do take care of ourselves. We do use protection. We have every normal problem that you can imagine, but it’s normalcy, just like that regular problems that a married couple has, but my HIV has never been one. My status has never been one of those problems. I’ve got big goals and HIV doesn’t stand in my way.
After learning she was living with HIV, Ana’s father, Felix, provided the love and support she needed to get informed about the disease, start treatment and take care of her health.
A person with HIV who is in ongoing care can live a normal lifespan. In addition to improving health, HIV treatment also prevents the spread of the virus to others.