Riccardo - Port-au-Prince, Haiti
In 2009, I went to spend a summer vacation in Jeremie, a town west of Port-au-Prince. While there, I contracted malaria and typhoid, which took a toll on me. The doctor made me take a bunch of blood tests, which revealed I was infected with HIV. They called my parents and told them. Everyone wondered how it was possible. My parents did not have it. My sisters did not have it. So how was it possible?
In my imagination, I see a mirror that represents the world. I am in the middle, and the spots are the criticisms I face. I am hiding, I don’t want to reveal what I have, I don’t want people to know. The suffering I have to deal with— it’s better to tell the truth about yourself, than for people to find out on their own.
I would like to speak to others like me. For those in hiding, when you stay hidden you put yourself in more danger than when you reveal. Once you reveal, you will feel better, you will feel happier. Here I am free, free of my self-consciousness, free of all criticism, free from all things.