Key Population Hero: Who is afraid of HIV?

Written by Mario Schauer, founder of Rompiendo el Tabú

I was born in Honduras, a country identified as predominantly conservative and traditionalist. A country where people have to learn about human sexuality along the way and not in textbooks. A country where if you contract HIV, it is not just an infection to be treated, but something you have to learn how to hide.

Disclosing your HIV status to one friend means everyone in your social circle will also soon know about you. And it is certain that some of your friends will go away out of fear of also being labeled HIV-positive. Everywhere you go you will find people who will reject you. Many people will no longer view you as an individual or a professional, but instead as an “AIDS sufferer.” This is despite the fact that HIV and AIDS are not interchangeable and that HIV is now generally controllable with medications and a healthy lifestyle.

mario!

Photo Credit: Mario Schauer

Your sex life will become very complicated even if it’s a stable relationship. If your partner accepts you with your HIV status, you still will have to educate the rest of his/her family in order for you to have a peaceful marriage.

In my case, my condition became public when some of my coworkers stole my medical history, made photocopies, and then distributed them among all the media organizations they could find, with the sole purpose of disclosing my HIV status. Despite the death threats and all the difficulties I encountered, I’m surviving this virus more resistant and agile than ever.

It has been 10 years now that I’ve been living with HIV, and today my commitment is to support those people who are newly infected or at risk of infection. I also strive to help people pursue sexual education according to their personal needs and interests.

My experience led me to discover my passion to help others and has also allowed me to develop a genuine interest in learning more about HIV and AIDS. Because the virus affects the immune system, I’ve learned how important nutrition, health, education, and medical checkups are…and with all that I’ve lost my fear of talking about taboo issues.

My learning was self-directed and made me realize that we lacked a project that will enable other people to learn what I have. And that is how Rompiendo El Tabú was born, a social movement created to break down traditional barriers. Our mission is simple: break down social taboos by educating people and engendering interest their in learning about preventive sexual health.

HIV came into my life unexpectedly and I felt like it destroyed everything I’d accomplished. After that, it seemed like I only had two options: will myself to die or move forward. I chose the second option and today, 10 years later, my project is making a real start. It reminds me of a 747 airplane take-off – difficult at the beginning, but once it takes off, it will keep moving upward.

I love what I do. I get great satisfaction offering a warm helping hand to someone who needs it, without judging him or her. Above all, I love my work, so my job and my life are my top personal accomplishments.

Today, if somebody were to ask if I were afraid of having HIV, my answer would be NO.

To break a taboo we need to talk about the taboo.

 

Follow us on line. Click www.rompiendoeltabu.com

 

2 thoughts on “Key Population Hero: Who is afraid of HIV?

  1. Big up Mario Schauer , for sure dealing up with stigma in society is not a simple job .needs commitment. I’m thinking of starting one in my country. I would like your help.PSE keep in touch.

    Liked by 1 person

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