Eighteen years ago, I was working in a laboratory, and it was in that very place that I tested myself for HIV. The result was positive. It was hard for me to accept the news.

The hardest thing to accept was my family’s behavior. They value money, and since I used to have plenty of it, they treated me well. I even took care of their expenses. Now they refuse to give me their support. I find their attitude painful, particularly since I never ask them for money, neither for my studies nor my medicines. I get by financially by helping high school and university students with their homework.

Some time ago, in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, the drug gang Los Zetas kidnapped one of my brothers. My family asked me to go and negotiate with them. I didn’t know what to do, I was very much afraid. Finally, they released him, and when I came back I learned that they all had agreed to send me, since nobody else wanted to take the risk. At any rate, they gathered that I was doomed to die soon.

All these years of living with the virus have taught me to become more mature and to work on my feelings. Among my future plans, I want to enter the university, study chemistry, and then teach. I am standing right here, happy that I am going to succeed in everything.