Through Positive Eyes

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Jonatha Rio de JaneiroJonatha

I hope one day my mother can hug me like a mother should.

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My name is Jonatha. I am 24 years old, and I have been HIV-positive for 4 years. I live in Nova Iguacu, Rio.

My partner and I met at a nightclub when I was fifteen years old and he was sixteen. We studied at the same university but I didn’t know it then. I fell in love with him at first sight. He looked healthy; I could not tell he was ill. I found out what it was after his death. He had a blood test done but I never saw the results. It was when I was clearing his things away after he died that I found the tests. I took the test myself and the results show that I am positive and have been so since 2006.

We were together for 9 years. His first opportunistic disease was pneumonia, then cirrhosis, contracted due to Hepatitis C. His legs became paralysed. But I stayed with him through to the end. It’s been nine months since he died and now I am living with a friend.

I miss him very much.

His last words were, “Death is not the end, but the beginning of a new journey.” I am not scared of dying anymore. I believe that life goes on.

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In those days, when I was 15, we never heard of HIV. When I was about 17 I started to hear about it, but I never thought I would get it. I have been HIV-positive for 4 years now, and I have never had to take the medication. I know that today no one dies of AIDS, because there is treatment for it.

My mother never accepted the fact I was homosexual, my father even less. After my partner died I tried to move in with her, but she did not let me. She was the first person I wanted to tell that I was positive. I thought she would look after me, but she didn’t. My father wanted to beat me up when he found out about it.

Today my life is part happy and part sad. At the hardest time of my life, I found the love I did not get from my family in ABIA. They are my family. I have a roof over my head thanks to the goodwill of friends, in their houses, and I know that one day I still can be happy.

I know I won’t have my family’s support, so I must move on from there. I hope one day my mother can hug me like a mother should.

I am under treatment in an outpatient clinic. After I got this disease I learned to love myself even more, and I believe that from here onwards I will learn how to take better care of myself. Today I know that it is not AIDS that kills, prejudice does.

With the camera I photographed many places that called my attention. I went many places where my partner and I, God rest his soul, went often. I pictured him there with me at those moments.

I had never thought about the beauty of the world. By taking these pictures I met a lot of people, took pictures of friends and I saw that people care. I enjoyed it.

I would like to have a person who is always at my side. I believe that wherever he is, he is caring about me. My dream is to find happiness, to find someone, to find a place of my own, and not live off favours. To have a house in a quite place, where I can rest until my last days.

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