Empowered: Cristina (2:19)

  • Published: 07 June 2013
  • Cristina is a graduate student who was born with HIV. With her mother's support and a strong relationship with her boyfriend of nearly fifteen years who is HIV negative, Cristina is living her life to the fullest.

    Empowered, a campaign of Greater Than AIDS, highlights the power of all women - as mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, partners and people living with HIV - to change the course of this disease through everyday actions. Learn more at http://greaterthan.org/empowered

    Greater Than AIDS is a leading public information response to the U.S. domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic. To learn more, visit: http://greaterthan.org.

    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/greaterthanaids
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    When I first found out I was HIV-positive, I was nine and at the time, pediatric medication just didn’t exist.
    For a long time, my mom chose not to tell me about my HIV status, and I understand her rationale. She wanted me to have a normal childhood. She wanted to protect me from the burden and the anxiety of being sick
    I feel like I was launched into two lives.
    I was fairly open to one extent. I could get up in a room full of people and tell them, I’m nine years old and HIV-positive. But then at school, I wasn’t open with my friends. And part of that was I didn’t want to be stigmatized. I didn’t want an AIDS stamp on me as a child.
    As I became older and more confident, the idea of living a double life has really faded. I’ve chosen to be more open and out about my status.
    I’ve been with my boyfriend for 11 years. We’re high school sweethearts. Telling Chris was really important to me because I didn’t want to bear the burden by myself. I wanted him to see who I really was.
    When you’re in a relationship with someone who’s not HIV-positive, it can be an interesting balance.
    Our goal is to keep Chris HIV-free, keep me healthy. I want him to be my partner, my lover, my boyfriend, my best friend. I don’t necessarily want him to feel like he is a parent who has to take care of a sick kid. He’s a sweetheart, and he’s definitely a part of our family.
    As a kid, the belief was maybe I’ll make it to 10. Maybe I’ll make it to 16. And to see what treatment means now is amazing. I can have children. I can have children who are HIV free. I can keep Chris HIV free.
    I wanted to go to high school, I went to high school. I wanted to travel. I’ve been able to travel. I want to pursue journalism; I did that.
    Being empowered, to me means living your dreams fearlessly. Going, going after life, the life that you’ve been given.

Comments • 16

  • PeopleforFairnessCoalition AdvocacyOrg

    It's been six years since this video. Does anyone know where this woman is now, or what she's doing?

    • Bernie Madoff
      Bernie Madoff  10 months back

      Hey Christina. I would love to talk with with you. If you have a moment please send me a email address to contact you. Thanks. N hope all is well with you.

      • 4ever
        4ever  11 months back

        I hate it when u meet someone and u ask to both get tested together and other person makes excuses why they can't...

        • shantal mitchell
          shantal mitchell  1 years back

          Hiv really as no face.... I wasn't infected with hiv but I was infected with another std it has really taught me a lot I swear... protect yourselves

          • Stripes :.
            Stripes :.  1 years back

            shantal mitchell I feel you

        • COOTER 1082
          COOTER 1082  2 years back

          Omg. This Angel

          • ClutchNastii671
            ClutchNastii671  5 years back

            How did she get hiv?

          • Rustyben nineoneone
            Rustyben nineoneone  5 years back

            get tested before you sleep with a person or you may find your self in a relationship where you are still getting to know that person while your still using condoms and that's not a good start because they may have h i v  and that condom could brake during the time you have sex and was thinking of going to get tested before taking the condom off to be in a more loving closeness kind of relationship but by then it will be too late so its best not to waste time asking your new partner about their past as they could sit with you all day and lie to you as much as they want 

            • littleteethkeith
              littleteethkeith  6 years back

              I'm normally a troll but I'm gonna sit this one out. Good for you lady. I hope you have a long healthy life.

              • Crissi Casas
                Crissi Casas  6 years back

                Amazing!!!!! Im hiv - but the man i love is + and it does not change my love for him!!!!! He is my soulmate
                Thank you for sharing your story and you are so beautiful...bless you stay strong

                • Crissi Casas
                  Crissi Casas  6 years back

                  Amazing!!!!! Im hiv - but the man i love is + and it does not change my love for him!!!!! He is my soulmate
                  Thank you for sharing your story and you are so beautiful...bless you stay strong

                  • Shannon Weber
                    Shannon Weber  4 years back

                    @Crissi Casas we are capturing the stories of women who are in relationships with men living with HIV. if you are interested in sharing your story (even anonymously) Please contact me: shannon.weber@ucsf.edu

                  • mashonda Knight
                    mashonda Knight  5 years back

                    You're a very understanding person,and i am glad you found your soulmate your story is inspiring

                • Leslie Blevins
                  Leslie Blevins  6 years back

                  Awesome! If we can reduce the stigma that comes with being HIV+...more folks will be motivated and eager to share their story! Bravo Christina! Live life to the fullest!