When I learned I had HIV, I thought that all feelings and emotions and doors would now be closed to me. After a while, I learned that HIV is only one part of me, that I have no reason to fall apart, that I have many other life options.

I am a hairdresser. I love combing and cutting hair and making people up. The beauty shop where I work stands between a mechanic workshop and a ceramics factory. At the beginning I felt a bit afraid in such a masculine environment, but little by little people grew fond of me.

I have a strong character, but there’s a part of me that feels very bothered and hurt, because I thought I could count on all my family’s support. Nevertheless, today I see an Ilián who is surer of herself, who wants to face the world and say that HIV is just one more experience that can be transcended. The world is quite large and there is room in it for all of us.

Photography awakened my consciousness and my sensitivity to the things that surround us. I noticed shapes, colors, and diversity. But above all I became aware of my inherent empathy with nature, with butterflies. I am very drawn to them because of the metamorphosis I initiated in myself, to finally be free.