The inaugural Through Positive Eyes workshop, in June 2008, was held during the build up to that year’s XVII International AIDS Conference, which emphasized continuing breakthroughs in antiretroviral treatment in relation to the epidemics in Latin America. On the intimate level of the workshop, however, the Mexico City participants focused on fundamental human issues—loving and being loved; the impact of HIV on the transgender community; the sexual expression of women with HIV; and the desire to be radiantly, defiantly, muscularly healthy, even while taking HIV medication.

Mexico’s AIDS Epidemic, as of 2008

Number of people living with HIV
170,000

HIV Prevalence

Adults (15–49 years)
0.2%
Female sex workers
5.5%
Men who have sex with men
9.9%
People who inject drugs
2.8%

Treatment

Universal access to antiretroviral drugs through national social security program since 2003.

Numbers on treatment
52,900
% of those living with HIV who are receiving it
32%

Key Events

2003
Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation outlawed.
2005
National anti-homophobia campaign launched.
2007
Supreme court rejects dismissal of HIV-positive soldiers from military.
2008
Needle exchange programs in six states.
2008
XVII International AIDS Conference in Mexico City: “Universal Action Now.”

Update 2019

230,000 Mexicans are living with HIV. HIV prevalence has risen to 20.7% in men who have sex with men. 70% of people living with HIV are on treatment and 89% of these have no detectable virus in their blood. (AIDS deaths not published for Mexico.)

Alejandro

Alejandro

I am an electrician and I have been living with HIV for the past fifteen years. That afternoon when I got the news, I was in shock. I left the doctor’s office and wandered aimlessly along the s …

Eduardo

Eduardo

I am twenty-four years old and I love rainy days. As raindrops fall, I am reminded of the place where, ten years ago, I started understanding myself as gay. It was the first time I ever shared …

Flor

Flor

I am not sure if I contracted HIV through a blood transfusion or by contact with contaminated medical instruments. But when I was diagnosed twelve years ago, I was sure it was God’s punishment. I was f …

Ilián

Ilián

When I learned I had HIV, I thought that all feelings and emotions and doors would now be closed to me. After a while, I learned that HIV is only one part of me, that I have no reason to fall apart, …

Ilsa

Ilsa

Ilsa is the name I have given myself. Now that I am eighteen years old, I feel empowered and my decisions are legally recognized. What I want is to feel fulfilled and productive, in order to take the …

Magda

Magda

I was diagnosed with HIV over five years ago. Before then my life was no different from that of any other housewife. I consider myself to be a strong woman, but if they tell you that you have a …

Magos

Magos

I am forty-one years old, I’ve been married for nineteen years, and I have been living with HIV for the past seven. Before being diagnosed I was another woman, the typical housewife who takes care of h …

Martín

Martín

When the doctor told me we needed to discuss the results of my blood test, I already knew I was positive. I guessed it because Alfredo, my lover, had been diagnosed already. It was a hard blow for …

Octavio

Octavio

My HIV infection was the consequence of a gang rape. When the doctors gave me the diagnosis, I felt my life was over. What else could happen to me? I had been a very abused child. My mother was …

Ramón

Ramón

Eighteen years ago I was working in a laboratory, and it was in that very place that I tested myself for HIV. The result was positive. It was hard for me to accept the news. The hardest thing to …

René

René

I was diagnosed with HIV just a year ago. I was not surprised. I always took care, but then on one occasion I didn’t protect myself. I became seriously ill and there seemed no hope I would live. My f …

Roberto

Roberto

When I learned the results of my HIV test, I asked myself if I could live with the infection. At that moment, all my prejudices and internalized stigmas came to the surface, because although I knew …

Salvador

Salvador

My reaction twelve years ago, when I learned I was HIV-positive, was to feel I had been so stupid, because I had the information and didn’t use it. I played with fire and look at the result. My lover a …

Silvia

Silvia

I am thirty-nine and have been living with HIV for fifteen years. When I received the diagnosis, I felt like I was already dying. I thought of my three children and imagined I was losing them. I was …

Supporters

Through Positive Eyes in Mexico City—Una Mirada Positiva—was organized in partnership with Letra S, with major funding from The Ford Foundation and the University of California Institute for Mexico and the United States (UC MEXUS).