Lillibeth Gonzalez proudly celebrated her 26th “HIVersary” on June 2, marking yet another milestone for the woman who has overcome addiction, domestic violence, stigma and the AIDS-related deaths of three siblings.
“I went through hell and back to get to where I’m at today,” says Gonzalez, who is a native New Yorker. “But I’m so happy because I’m living and aging with HIV.”
In 1992, Gonzalez tested HIV positive. Inspired to persevere by her young son, she became mentally strong while physically suffering. With the epidemic raging on, Gonzalez refused to sit idly by, so she underwent training on HIV from several health and wellness organizations, including Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) and Exponents.
“I informed myself so I could help others make informed choices,” Gonzalez says.
For 25 years, Gonzalez has been a client at GMHC, the world’s first HIV organization. She has also worked there as a community health educator since 2006.
She empowers people living with HIV to become educated and to help raise HIV awareness. She often hosts forums, workshops
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