Colombia-born Maria Mejia was 18 and living in Kentucky when her blood test results came back with a shocking revelation. The doctor bluntly gave her the news: Maria, you are HIV-positive.
“I believe I got infected at the age of 16 from my first boyfriend who I later found out was an IV drug user,” Mejia said. “I was in shock, especially back then, because it was a death sentence. I thought to myself, ‘I am going home to die.’”
The “back then” Mejia refers to is 1991, the same year Magic Johnson retired from the NBA promptly after announcing that he had HIV. This announcement sparked rumors that Johnson was bisexual or gay because many people still believed that HIV was a problem only affecting the gay community. It is these stereotypes that made Mejia break her silence on living with HIV for more than 20 years.
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