Paulo César Nóbrega is one of 40 milion people living with HIV/AIDS. This is story:
Like most young people of my generation, I started using drugs as an adolescent. By the time I was 16, I was taking cannabis, hallucinogens and injecting drugs. Soon, my addiction led me to drug trafficking. Between 1985 and 1993, I was imprisoned in the city of São Paulo, Brazil, where I was diagnosed HIV-positive.
Initially, I was shocked. But I didn't really know what HIV or AIDS were, which is why I continued using drugs and sharing needles with other inmates. We received no guidance or preventive care.
In prison, AIDS first manifested itself through tuberculosis, an illness I suffered from three times. Although I was eventually given anti-retroviral medicines, I continued taking drugs and only restarted the treatment in earnest after abandoning drugs for good in 1999.
At that time, I was a member of a support group in my hometown, the coastal city of São Vicente, and was close to other HIV-positive people. We soon decided to establish the Hipupiara NGO to promote a sense of unity among people living with HIV and to improve their quality of life.
Unfortunately, I suffered a lot of prejudice for being HIV-positive, including from members of my family. I was also denied jobs. Then, in 2001, I started working as a fisherman, a job I retired from in 2005, at 50, due to poor health.
Today, I am free of drugs and am sticking to the treatment. I work as a volunteer for Hipupiara, contacting drug users in the city and referring them to treatment and assistance services.
Thanks to all the information I have accumulated about HIV/AIDS, I can now face and beat prejudice. People infected with HIV and drug users should not close up or avoid talking about their problems; we should help each other so that we can all lead a better life.
(Available in: < http://www.unodc.org/newsletter/200601/page005.htm...>; Acess in: Mar. 6, 2006.)The text is about the story:
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