I am 39 and have been living with HIV for 15 years. When I received the diagnosis I felt like I was already dying. I thought of my three children and imagined I was losing them. I was the typical down trodden housewife. I had endured my husband’s machismo and bisexuality, but I said to myself: “Silvia, you have to move on. You can’t just stand still waiting for death to come.” I am the one who has had to face it all.
Over time I have become an activist, helping people at the hospital. I work more with women, building on my own experience. I am a bold fighting woman. When I negotiate with authorities at the hospital I often tell them: either you stick to your word or I’ll sue you. That is what gives me strength, fighting for the rights of people living with HIV.
And to tell you the truth, I am very happy, for I now understand HIV and have myself as the best reason for living.
I photographed myself alone and with my children, because they give me hope. And I took one photo of a candle with the HIV symbol because in this past 15 years I have seen a lot of people die. I send them light so that they can rest.