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Damaries Cruz: HIV-Positive Latina Puts a Public Face on a Stigmatized Virus

Damaries Cruz: HIV-Positive Latina Puts a Public Face on a Stigmatized Virus

Damaries Cruz is an optimist. "When I was diagnosed [in 1991 -- five years before the era of effective HIV treatment truly began] I had to find a way to turn this horrible thing, this negative thing, into a positive," she recalls. "I had a choice: I could sit there and cry and let this thing eat me alive, or I could just celebrate my life and beat it. That was my choice." Cruz is now a very public advocate: She and her mom are the stars of a newly released, Spanish-language media campaign called Soy (Spanish for "I am"), which features the personal stories of a diverse group of HIV-positive Hispanic men and women, as well as the people who love them. In this article, you can read our interview with Cruz and view a video from this groundbreaking campaign.

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