Saturday , May 8 2021

Pedal Against Prejudice: The Story of A Young Man With HIV Struggling Against Social Stigma

"I was friends with someone and I did not care for myself, because when I was diagnosed, the first thing that happened to me was that I had only ten years to live because that was what I was speculating at the onset of the illness in the 80s. I thought that the roll is over. " Joaquin Rodriguez, born in San Francisco, Cordoba Province, is 32 years old. It was in the month of November 2011 that his life changed completely after he opened an envelope that he said he had human immunodeficiency virus infection.

"The truth is that I was very scared, but over time I got a bit more information and I found myself with a completely different reality," he said. Infobae.

After the initial diagnosis, Rodriguez He went to the world of the virus to try to understand what would happen in his life: "In the first interview I was told what drugs I had to take, how to live a bit with all of this and there I met my doctor Marco Marino, who is also the president of the The Rosas Foundation, and from the very first moment they helped me to confront a part of the socio-cultural context that is sicker than the disease itself. "

"I am gay and in the collective there is a lot of fear due to lack of information or interest in the topic. rejection, because many people have no idea what it is and what it means to live with the virus. I also found pity, with anyone asking you "will you die?" ".

Today Seven years ago, he co-exists with the virus and can not be detected. "Living with an undetected virus means that the treatment has worked and that the viral load is so low that blood tests can not quantify, so my condition makes the transfer to another person almost impossible, so I'm very happy about it."

Although the first years were the hardest for Cordovan, in 2012, a friend of his work told him the idea of ​​buying a bike to walk on foot to Vila Carlos Paz. "I bought a bike and I liked it more and more, because I found my motivation," he said. Rodriguez

In 2013, he took part in his first 82km bike race: "He was hard, he did not have a good bike, but I knew that if the forces left me, what I got was the heart."

It was so that what started out as a hobby among friends opened the passion that could later help his story reach different parts of the country under the concept of "Pedals alive ". "My idea was to carry out a campaign together with the Rosas Foundation to eliminate prejudices against HIV and the discrimination of people living with the infection," said Cordovan, who with perseverance gradually achieves more and more goals. hard.

Today, six years after buying his first bike, Cordovan sets goals to continue to promote messages and people know little of their history and so the virus. "The next year is a 120-mile race through the high peaks, it's a great challenge in which I'm getting ready with everything."

And there is a message for those who have received the diagnosis: "I was in their place, I know they are afraid, they are angry, I would like to ask them not to get stuck, to seek help, if there is anything he will heal is love The only thing what they need to do to break the stigma is to understand that they are normal people, so that others see them as a couple. Every day we have to take pills, use condoms like everyone else, to sleep well, to work There is nothing which changes, because we all need to dedicate ourselves to living the best we can emme ".

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