What is HIV?

What is the difference between HIV and AIDS?

What would you do if you discovered you had HIV or AIDS?

Would you keep it a secret or share it with the world?

On A Conversation with Joshua T Berglan & Maria Mejia, we discuss how a 15-year-old found out one day she had the AIDS virus and the hard choices she was faced with on the fateful day.

Maria is the co-author of the book From a Warrior’s Passion and Pain, a real-life account of her 30-year battle with HIV. She is currently the co-chair of the Women and Minorities Outreach for the Dab the AIDS bear project. Maria is a part of the campaign “Let’s Stop HIV Together” for the Center for Disease Control as their Ambassador. she is also an ambassador for a Greater than AIDS ongoing Campaign for women, HIV, Trauma, and IPV, “The Stigma Project, and The Global Ambassador and CAB member for the Women’s organization “The Well Project Diagnosed with HIV in 1991 and infected in 1988 and the age of 15, Maria began a long journey finding hope, pride, and passion in an undereducated society unprepared to deal with the growing epidemic of HIV and AIDS.

After ten years without treatment, Maria found herself at a crossroads. She could begin medical treatment or continue to slide towards death. Thankfully she chose to live and to fight for more than just her own health. Maria immersed herself in HIV/AIDS education and became a powerful activist for education, treatment, testing, prevention, LGBTQ and human rights. She has been featured in magazines, billboards, TV as well as national and international conventions. Maria has been a part of four documentaries to help raise HIV awareness. She is a volunteer for the Red Cross, an HIV educator for Jackson Memorial Hospital and a motivational speaker.

She is an HIV consultant and a member of several digital advisory boards: Janssen Pharmaceuticals Digital advisory board. Comunity advisory board The well project and sits in the Board of Directors “CANN” in Washington.

Follow Maria

Twitter at @mariahivmejia IG: MariaHIVMejia

FB : https://www.facebook.com/mariahivmejia

Youtube :Maria Mejia

Founder: International support groups for people infected and affected:
English: https://www.facebook.com/groups/mariahiv/

Spanish: https://www.facebook.com/groups/mariahiv1111/

http://www.thewellproject.org/users/mariatmejia

Thebody.com: http://www.thebody.com/content/art60152.html

Until there’s a cure: http://until.org/introducing-maria-mejia/

Thank you for being a part of A Conversation with Joshua T Berglan & Maria Mejia on the Live Mana Network!

Find us on Apple TV, ROKU, Amazon Fire, Google News, your app stores, and your favorite podcast networks!

Thank you for being here!

Joshua T Berglan

 

Joshua T Berglan, aka The World’s Mayor, is a voice for the voiceless and is driven to elevate the passion, purpose, and mission of those he serves. Joshua is the Chairman of the Live Mana Worldwide Foundation & Live Mana Network, Shock-Jock Evangelist, International #1 Best Selling Author for the Book “The Devil Inside Me” a Producer, and Filmmaker. Joshua is an expert in the future of media and loves supporting others in helping make their dreams come true.

TRANSCRIPTION 

Joshua T Berglan
What’s up ladies and gentlemen, my name is Joshua and you are watching a conversation with Joshua T Berglan on the live mana Network. Thank you so much for being here. I think I’m gonna get the pointy thing down that correct this time, no Bronwyn. She’s the mirrored camera gets me every. Now you can find links to all of our broadcast right down here I’m literally pointing the opposite direction. What a mind that is anyway, you can scan a barcode, you can learn about the live mana worldwide foundation or nonprofit media organization, you can learn about our broadcast network, find all the links, find our book, The Devil Inside me anyway, it’s just way more convenient than throwing out 85 websites just scan the barcode. It’s all right there. Anyway, I’m not trying to usher in, you know, the mark of the beast or anything by that because I have seen some of those comments. That’s not why it’s just easy Jiminy Christmas, well, then again. So nevermind, I’m not going there right now, this is a different conversation. Anyway, those of you who have watched my broadcasts over the years, whether it’s gratitude, unfiltered, this show, whatever it may be any of the most recent broadcast ever since it was morning gratitude. I made the decision to finally share that I had HIV, I was scared to death. It’s pretty interesting, too, because I was getting all of this credit for being so bold and talking about being molested and talking about being abused and all that I got a lot of credit for it. When I was doing morning gratitude, which was a different show was my very first one. But it was withholding. Two very, very powerful secrets. And it took somebody convincing me. And really actually someone, it was him it was God. But it was God and then God sending people to me, but I heard the words 98% of the truth is not the truth. And then God doesn’t bless lies. Those two things rocked my world. And I’ve had a few things over the years that have been said to me, or I’ve heard or read, that really, really rocked me. The blessing isn’t the breaking, I can go on and on. But 98% of the truth isn’t the truth. And I was convicted by that. Because here it was I had given my life to the Lord and I was doing my best to be the best Christian I could be. Yet I was living a lie. And also even worse, for seeing the people in my life to keep secrets. Because I was keeping a secret. They felt like they needed to keep a secret. Because who really wants to tell, you know, especially the loved ones. Well, yeah, the reason why Josh went to jail so much is because he was an abuser. Or yay, you know, he’s he’s not telling you that he has HIV. And it was, it took me one of the scariest things ever did was tell people on HIV, but I didn’t do it normally. I did it on a show my show. And it’s terrifying as it was. And I had a lot of people I mean, I think it was probably more for admitting that I was an abuser. This was like three, four years ago. I think it was I think that had a lot more to do with and than HIV. But with the admission to HIV also came the chem sex addiction that I had for several years. I mean, almost 20 years. And that was a tough day. It was a tough day having friends no longer want to talk to me and things like that. But it was also the most joy filled filled day of my life had since I had given my life to the Lord behind bars

I’m so glad that I got rid of those secrets. Because if I hadn’t I know for a fact that I wouldn’t have the life that I have today. God doesn’t bless lies. Even if you’re a believer or a Christian and you’re living a lie keeping secrets. You have no way of God blessing those secrets. And I’ve learned in my experience that just telling the truth, even when it’s ugly. God can use it so now I talk about HIV is often as I can I don’t just try to like go Hey neighbor, neighbor, guess what I mean? But I do when Phil let I bring it up. I talked about it. I talked about it on these broadcast. And and I do it because I genuinely am free From it, I’m not afraid of it. But also because I feel that I’m doing a disservice to all the people before me that risked their life had their life taken. That were experimented on. I think about all the doctors the research the hours, again, I mean, there’s the HIV researchers, you know, diamond, a mysterious plane crash. I mean, I’ve, I’ve heard all of these stories, I think about Ryan White. I think about all of the people that work with the rain Foundation, and I believe with all my heart and hope that they’ll John foundation is legit. But I know there’s other organizations out there that are very powerful. But I’m thinking about all those people, the HIV medication that I take was about $5,000 a month. I didn’t have the money to pay $5,000 a month, and I didn’t have insurance, either. I didn’t have anything. And if it wasn’t for all of the sacrifices that have been made taxpayers included, by the way, if it wasn’t for them, I would not have the life that I have today. Without Jesus, I wouldn’t have the life. But I can remember all of the people that made it possible for me to get to a place where I was undetectable and able to live a normal life. Because the only side effect I have is inflammation and the inflammation sucks. But I don’t really ever get sick, I do everything I want to do. I’m happily married, have a beautiful family in my life hasn’t been destroyed and wrapped in all the things that I thought it was going to be when I first found out that I have HIV. So I am honored and humbled. And all that I get to have our guests today. Erica, I’m sorry, I’m not here. The reason why I said Erica is because her last name is the same last name as my childhood best friends. It was a brother, two brothers and a sister. And they were the me he is. And so when I see her name, it makes me think of my friend, but Maria Mejia as our guest today, and she, to me is a one of the pioneers in the activism and education in taking the fight, you know, fighting on behalf of other people with HIV and AIDS. And I just I’m in awe and here’s the thing. This isn’t a new thing she didn’t just start a year ago, didn’t start two years ago, didn’t even start three years ago when I essentially started because when I started doing it, it was easy because I knew the medication was going to work. I knew I would be undetectable. I knew all that stuff once I settled down and quit, you know shooting up math and all that stuff and decided okay, I’m ready to get help now. She started in 1988 15 years old, is when she started her journey and her fight. And I’m I’m in awe of that because no one except for doctors need Fauci which I’m I’ve got my you know, my opinion there. But no one very few, especially women are taking on this fight. And I am just absolutely honored and humbled to have Maria me here on today because she’s an OG where to put it. And it’s because of people like her that people like me get to live the life that I have now. And so you guys are just this is gonna be special I her list of accomplishments and all that she’s doing and has done isn’t isn’t is awe inspiring on its own. But I’m really, really just I’m just excited to have this conversation because it’s a conversation that I wanted to have. I’ve had other guests with HIV Come on.

And they don’t want to talk about HIV. So I finally get to have this conversation, and we’ll do it right after this.

Cabin. Ladies and gentlemen, it is an absolute I just love this. What just came out of my mouth. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome co author of a warrior’s passion and pain, a true hero. And for the people. It’s not just the HIV community, the LGBT community, it’s not just that. The fact is the work that she’s done all these years is about to come full to a full head. I think I said that right? It’s good to come to a head. And the work that she did back then, I believe with all my heart, she’s about to see the fruits off in the next few months. Because her purpose in this world is extraordinary. And I am truly truly honored to introduce to you, Maria mahiya. What’s up Maria, how are you?

Maria Mejia
How are you, Joshua, it is an honor and a pleasure. I’m humbled to be here today with you.

Joshua T Berglan
Well, I’m humbled to have you here because without you, without people like yourself without leading the way all these years, I again, I said in the beginning, I know I wouldn’t be here the resources wouldn’t be available. None of that. So today, I am grateful for your life, your courage, your bravery, your intestinal fortitude. I’m grateful for all of that. That’s that that motivated dude and stirred you up to take this on and not let it kill you. But before we get into the conversation, can you tell me what you’re grateful for today? And why?

Maria Mejia
Well, I’m grateful. But most of all, I’m grateful to be alive. Because by being alive, I’m able to fulfill the purpose mission that God placed me in this world for.

Joshua T Berglan
Amen. Yeah. And your purpose is big. So I was reading a little bit about your story, you found out at 15 years old, that you had HIV, is that correct?

Maria Mejia
Well, I contracted HIV at the age of 15 and 19 Ada, I didn’t know I had HIV, but then it was a gay man’s disease. And it was called grid. And as as a teenager that was very troubled, that has a history similar to yours with sexual abuses. And then as a child below violence. i It’s very, very complex story, but it’s a story of survival. I lived with HIV from I didn’t know I had it at 15. I got it from my first boyfriend. But I found out in 1991, one week after my 18th birthday in Job Corps.

Joshua T Berglan
Oh, wow. So that’s the thing about HIV. And I don’t think a lot of people know it. Some people think HIV is AIDS. A lot of people that do know about HIV doesn’t they don’t really know that it can just sit there and hide and not show symptoms for a long time. And and then one day, it pops up, you know, I mean, there’s a lot of you there’s a lot of different stories that I’ve heard. But again, it’s it’s really dangerous. I mean, especially, you know, if you’re if any if you’re in the lifestyle where you’re involved with drugs and things like that, and you’re having sex and you don’t know who you’re having sex with, it’s probably a pretty good idea to get tested. And one of the things that I took for granted because I was a chem sex addict. I didn’t Want to know? And I honestly didn’t care because I would have rather just died. So I wasn’t going, Hey, can you show me your most recent status? I wouldn’t do any of that, because I was fueled by this demon lust for more drugs and more sex. But this wasn’t, you’re not a junkie? Or if you didn’t get it because of that, correct? You got it, you’re in a normal relationship, and then discover it three years later that you’ve had HIV? Is that correct?

Maria Mejia
Yes. Actually, the ones that molest me. And unfortunately, I forgave my father. He’s another one that molested me sexually. But there was a lot of islands at home, all of these things that we turn away from home, be put in the foster care system where I was supposed to be protected. As a young child, 15 years ago, you’re a child, and they tried to sexually abuse me there as well. That’s where I run away to the streets and join a very, very violent street gang. And when I come to talk about it, to different places where they want to hear me in from prisons, and they can relate to me to teens, in trouble, all the way to people in the government, because I’d love that and everything in between. I think about it now. And all of us came from violent homes, sexual abuse, and we hated ourselves, because our self esteem was broken from a very young age. So when you don’t have it, for example, my father is supposed to be my first love. He passed away. And I love my father dearly and deeply. But he was bipolar. He had mental illness. And so those are the people. I don’t like to blame anyone. But But I not, I was not a sex worker. I was not. I did not consume drugs. I only smoked cigarettes. That’s why when I got my diagnosis, and I saw the doctors eyes, when he said, Why haven’t you come to the clinic, we’ve been sending you slips. This isn’t Job Corp, when I was supposedly changing my life around I went to live in Kentucky. And this book is a program for kids in trouble to study. And can Turkey, the doctor, I immediately thought something was wrong. And the first thing that came to my mind was, Oh, my God, I have cancer in my lungs, because I smoked cigarettes. So no, I was not a sex worker. No Did not I was not a promiscuous person. Even though I don’t like to judge anyone, if they were promiscuous if they were not promiscuous, because this is not a moral condition. This is a human condition that anyone can get, you know, from the baby from a baby to an 80 year old grandmother, I have seen with this human condition, as I call it. And so all the stereotypes that they have, along with this question, and I’m not I’m not a gay man, but there was very, you know, prominent in the in the gay community. I mean, it still is, but you know, 50% of people living with HIV around the world or women.

Joshua T Berglan
It’s that high,

Maria Mejia
extremely high, because we’re the Forgotten Ones. I’m very blessed to work, from one of the many places that I work for very blessed to work for the wellprepped project, which is a woman and girls are going to stay on their global ambassador and also cap and recruiter there. And I started with them as a volunteer. And if you really look up, or Google women’s organizations, there’s only two in the United States really. And that’s the wall project, which is like, my, I just, you don’t know how that has empowered me and other women to come out of the HIV closet with no shame, because there is no shame in having this condition. And so what we do in the world project is not only blog, we just like a diary. You know, I mentor so many, so many young women and men as well. But that’s for women only, and girls globally. And PWM, which is positive women’s their work. And I also belong with, you know, I’m also part of them, but the project is who I represent.

Joshua T Berglan
The Yeah, I mean, you’re the advocacy that you do is inspiring. But I want to go back to the very beginning, when you first found out what was your reaction, like when you your doctors looking at you’re like, why haven’t you been showing up? You think you have cancer? And then he says, you have HIV? How did you respond?

Maria Mejia
Oh, he is he had no compassion when there was 9091 he will have no compassion. He had no empathy. He just sat me down in this cold room and said, You have AIDS. Just that to a teenager that didn’t have her family around her. That was I was like, I didn’t cry. I didn’t get angry. The only thing I remember is being in that office and that DESC and looking down and saying, Oh, my God, my life is over, I’ll never have children, and I’ll never get married. And I saw all my life paths in front of me. And I said to myself, why, why how I’ve been through so much in such a young age, and when I’m trying to finally seeing the light, and you know, here to study and to change my life, in many aspects around you know, I received a death sentence because what it was back then, and but you know what, it saved my life actually. So I do not regret contracting HIV, believe it or not.

Joshua T Berglan
Yeah, so I’m with you there too. But you were you diagnosed with AIDS or HIV? He said.

Maria Mejia
He says he had no way of knowing if it was aids, he was ignorant position, because there’s many out there like that. And but I mean, I’m a teenager, how could I question if it was now with the education that I have? I’ll say Excuse me, sir. Do you test my CD for account? Because obviously back then there was no viral load test? He had no and here’s the thing is that not only that, but he did not? I’m not I’m not begging for in a pit Baby, baby. But be compassionate. You know, when you take the oath to be a physician. Sometimes I’m so sorry. Oh, my God. Hold on a minute

Joshua T Berglan
I love it when dogs are part of the background and what kind of dog it is? Kind of Dog is it

this is when when you have producers and editors that play music right now. Oh, how freaking adorable. I can’t hear you. You’re on mute. How cute. You’re on mute.

Maria Mejia
I’m sorry. I just didn’t want to hear the barking because she always wants to be part of the show.

Joshua T Berglan
That’s okay. And she will not

Maria Mejia
stop barking the last I call the man Lammi. Zombie? Yeah.

Joshua T Berglan
Oh, now you froze?

Maria Mejia
Because she’s like a little lamb like no and lambs are innocent. So going back to this, this doctor. He had no way of knowing if it was AIDS, but there was no information. I remember the head person and Job Corp. I don’t know if you call him a dean. Because I mean, really the university but it’s kind of is he? He was very nice. He came all the way because you have to walk all far away. The reason why I was in that clinic, and job purpose because I was about to turn 18. And when I turned 18, I asked my social workers go back to Miami. That’s where my mother and little brother lived. celebrate my birthday for at least a week. And they were like, yes, go to the clinic to get this charge. That’s the reason why I went to the clinic. Because I did get these little slips to come into the clinic and ask for what, and I would throw it away. I didn’t. I say, you know, a teenager, you know, walk all the way over there for what? I know, I wasn’t having sex, no, no pregnancy and nothing like that. And look at my mind. I thought it was cancer when he when he looked at me like he looked at me angry. He didn’t prepare me. He didn’t counsel me. That’s why in the future, I became a counselor and pre and post tester testing people for HIV. Because as of today in Jackson Memorial Hospital, I was a volunteer for eight years along in the with the Red Cross. And for Monday through Friday, without pay, that’s Caucasian. That was my is my mission. And they trained me with the health department. So when I will give the diagnosis not to a person. I was remembered, you know, I will hold them because everybody reacts differently. Listen, you’re gonna be okay. Look at me. Zero example. If you do what you’re supposed to do, and you take your medicine and you’re a good person, and you live a good life and eat well and exercise and love yourself and and go to therapy because a lot of what we all need therapy. You know, you live with this human condition. As you notice, I don’t even call it HIV I call it a human condition. And many times we forget the human, which is the first letter of, of HIV. And as far as AIDS, the stigma that comes with AIDS, I have an AIDS diagnosis. Because for the first 10 years, I had no access to medication. Because when I got out, I went back to Miami and my mother, my brother, and I, well, my mother decided that we were going to go back home to Colombia. That’s where I was in Colombia. And I went to my grandparents house, we we all did. And, and that was the most beautiful time. For decades of my life. I was there from 1981 to 2001. And why you will say, Well, why, with a death sentence, with no access to treatment, there was no social media, I didn’t know anyone that had HIV, I didn’t have the support groups, I didn’t have nothing, just a death sentence. But that’s my spiritual transformation came as where I became extremely spiritual. And the children that I didn’t have, were my grandparents, I took in as part of a chapter or chapter one, a whole chapter of my book is dedicated to them. I made their last years beautiful, our play their music, I was sitting with them, I would dress them up, I would, there were like my children, they’re up. I mean, the older the elderly becomes. So even though I was with that, that sentence, I finally wasn’t a home of peace, or there was no fights where there was no insults, where there was no violence. It was just, just, it was just so wonderful. You know, and I guess that that prepared me to, I mean, to the point, where am I, the person that passed was my grandfather. And when he passed, he passed in the House. He wasn’t from old age, and his Mare is married his ring for marriage.

They gave it to me, and they put it in my hand, because I took care of them, I will clean them out, bathe them or change their diapers. My grandmother, I’m gonna sue is very complicated as well. But yeah, I love them so much. And that’s where I realized that I was here to serve. And that by serving others, even though it’s like, to me, it was something that natural by serving others I was or, or the I’m not, like my father said I was when I was a little girl that I was not worth anything or that I was never been mounting. Or calling me the W word. I don’t want to say it. Because it’s vulgar, since I was a little girl and me that you know, like, You’re nothing but up. No, and you’re gonna end up like your sister that was killed six feet under, I want to talk about about my father because he he’s he’s passed and the last 15 years were very good with him. I taught him a lot of lessons. And one of them was from all my children. The one that I treated, the worst was you and you are the most normal one. And I don’t want to compare my some of my other sisters. But as I said those words, words, and then when he will call me beautiful. I didn’t believe him. Because he always demean me and my mother, but you since I was a little girl, let me talk about three, four years old. And so my self esteem was on the floor. So obviously, those years in Colombia with with my grandparents, and my mom and my little brother Alex, are wonderful, but I was with that sentence. So towards the end, I was done. And I have a lot of physicians in my family. And one specifically that I disclose too, because I had to lie. Galena things before went to Columbia is my mother sitting me down. You know, she’s extremely conservative Catholic. We come from a very conservative Catholic home as part of our culture. And she has been everything to me. Every time they interview me, or they do something in the magazine or lately they have been highlighting the strength of my mother has never cried in front of me because she knows that will break me. She has been the person that taught me although I was in a gang, and all of these things that I am not ashamed of. She taught me morals. She was my foundation. She taught me to be to have respect. She taught me spirituality, she taught me forgiveness. Because by by her teachings and by the teachings of Jesus Christ, who is why Father, you know, and that’s all it is, you know. Forgiveness set me free. I forgive my uncle, and all all those that have hurt me and they, you know, I still I’m still going through a lot of things. Trust me, I’m probably going to write 2345 books because believe it or not, I’m still going to go through traumatic events that I’m not ready to talk about that. I don’t know why or they’re they happened To me, but, you know, I’m still here. They have not managed to Jade me or to destroy my soul. And I’m gonna be here as a 34 year long term survivor to now have HIV and AIDS. I’m gonna be tilled up here.

Joshua T Berglan
Yeah, God’s not done with you yet. I want to ask you something, though, because there are some people that are finding out right now that they have. It’s different than it’s different than HIV turned aids, but they’re finding out about vaccine induced AIDS. And it’s creeping out like overseas, it’s kind of a thing, but here in the United States, like I’m starting to actually know people, and it’s getting really, really interesting. So you’re talking about living with AIDS for a while, that’s your official diagnosis? How are you doing that? Because AIDS is most people assume that’s your death sentence, you’re done. How is it not healing you?

Maria Mejia
Well, because of the wonderful treatment you have now. Because, as you said, In the beginning, I know people that HIV could be dormant in your body as it starts destroying your T cells, which is your immune system, slowly, is not like from one day like a cancer. That will be sometimes they’ll just they’ll give me two months to live. And that’s it, or you want permission with with HIV, it’s silent. And that’s why I urge everyone young and old married that men marry gay, straight, whatever, any human that is having sex with no protection. That’s why I say even married, because a lot of times I used to offer the test to married people. And they would be excuse me, I’m married. Oh, ma’am. But you know what you’re doing what you don’t know what your husband is doing? Do it for yourself. And when I would ask the men, there was another story. I’m not a homosexual, sir, this has nothing to do with that. You should get tested because knowing is important because you could catch it and get on treatment. And obviously not further down the line that undetectable equals on transmittable came but how did I manage my mom had a whole food store and a vegetarian restaurants. So I was eating very well. I took all the products that my mother sold. I mean, it’s kind of like disgusting, but it’s part of it. When you try to survive do anything. I drink my own urine for three months, because supposedly it was a Japanese this quarter in therapy. Look, I did everything we could to stay alive. But the truth is that if you don’t take your medication, you die. So what happened? When I when I was not feeling well, because I’m very strong genetically. My uncle said, Look, you have 39 T cells during the 90s as a person normally would be dead. And I was still walking. I didn’t look sick or anything. But I still felt like the little cannula was going out slowly. So I decided to go back to the United States. I’m a citizen. So here’s where I started tripping. I remember Dr. Roper. He’s now a past, very, very important doctor in my life. He said, Listen to me, Maria, how do you feel? I said, I feel like the candle is burning out slowly. He goes, you know you’re dying, and said, am I and so I feel like I am. I mean, it’s not like I was like with horrible pains or anything. But I felt weak. And he says I could take you to the well, but I cannot make you drink the water. If you don’t get on treatment, you will die in a month. So I said I’m ready to start treatment. And that’s when I started treatment 2001 So how did I manage to stay alive because the treatment because as we know, with treatment, especially now you be connectable and your immune system starts regenerating. So for example, I know people that have two T cells, and now they have 1000 pesos. So that has to do with a lot of fact genetics are under your how you eat, the stress levels that you have. And so on and so on. I’m one of those that for me to get to 300 teasels or over 200 Because below 200 T cells which is your is what is the diagnosis was very hard. I lived with fib T cells for 15 years in a hospital being around here. And I’m here because again, because it’s not my time to go. And as you can see, I’m 49 years old, and I’m healthy. And you can you can tell you know he does not have a face But are you

Joshua T Berglan
in a what, and here’s the thing, I I love your story, because it’s awareness that we should all use protection which should be safe. It can happen to anybody your proof. I, it’s not like I was like saying, hey, you know what, God, I’m gonna get AIDS today or I want to get HIV. No, I didn’t want it. But I but my behavior said you want Ebola, HIV, AIDS, crabs, all of it like it just give you all the diseases. That’s how I acted. And I, you know, my story we don’t need to go into right now. But I mean, a lot of really bad evil things. I mean, I shared needles, I did all the all the things you are not supposed to do. I did it. And how I got away with it. As long as I did, I have no idea. But like, I used to look at it, like, I deserve that. And when I first found out, I wanted to die, and I acted accordingly. I didn’t care. I was still in my method and coke and sex addiction. And it didn’t matter. I was just like, I’m gonna die having sex and doing drugs. That’s how I wanted to go out. I had no idea at that time that God had other plans for me. And I’m so grateful for that. But I also again, no, that that’s not would have never been possible for the if it weren’t for the sacrifices that were made, if it wasn’t for the resources that people like yourself thought for, for people like me, that really didn’t deserve it. I didn’t deserve a second chance. The God being God, He gives people second chances. And thank God he did. And you know what, as you said, I can honestly tell you today that I am grateful that I have HIV in there. If anything, it’s because one when the vaccine came out, or not sorry about the vaccine when COVID first came out, and I started reading the newspapers. And I read I heard about Gilead being involved in Dr. Fauci. And I was like, now why would an HIV drug be? why would why would they be involved in with this COVID vaccine, and then finding a cure and all that stuff. But that’s weird. So I went deep web hunting. And then I started to learn about the smallpox vaccine and Dr. Fauci and the big all that I started watching the old news clips of the people that were speaking out against him back then. And now I want to say to the world that was alive back then and old enough, and they saw it. What the hell happened to you? Like, how did you guys forget that he’s a monster? This is my opinion. I’m not saying it’s Maria’s opinion, it’s my opinion. But here we are, again, about to face a new kind of AIDS epidemic. They all they’re bringing out the vaccines for the bringing out all the new stuff, all the new COVID treatment just happened to have HIV drugs in it. Wonder why? Like, it’s it’s getting out of hand, but I’m grateful because I was able to see it. That’s why I didn’t go you know what, I’m gonna go sign up for the vaccine. I wouldn’t have taken it anyway, probably. But it at least gave me that. And then once I had the knowing, it gave me the courage to start speaking out about it. And of course, everyone thought I was crazy. But we’re, it’s about to start hitting people on the face really, really hard. So now, you being an advocate, you’re sitting here saying, I’ve got eight, I have HIV, and I’m living healthy. So that means for all of you out there who are jabbed and boosted you find out that your CD four and CD eight counts are shot, and you have no immune system left. Here’s your hope. Right there. Are you not?

Maria Mejia
treatment works for you.

Joshua T Berglan
But no dilution.

Maria Mejia
What was the price?

Joshua T Berglan
Nevermind. It’s not really a question. I was just really making a statement. And I said, you are an example that there isn’t

Maria Mejia
for everyone. And the treatment where

Joshua T Berglan
I never got to the AIDS diagnosis I caught I was, you know, I don’t know how long I went on treated, to be honest with you. But I was undetectable within six months like it took virtually no time at all. And that’s amazing. That that’s that’s incredible. So what I was making was, is that for everyone out there, and if you’re somebody that that already has HIV or you have AIDS diagnosed assisting, you’re keeping it a secret. I’m telling you right now, there’s someone out there that is dying to hear your secret. I mean, literally dying, because your story could be the one that inspires them to go get tested. Because the longer you wait and not get tested, the more risk you put yourself and the people that you love. That’s right. So what? I believe that we’re going to see a cure in our lifetime, because there’s, there’s money for it. Now. I mean, the all the treatments are so good. I don’t think they really have a choice but to release the cure, which is great. And it’s exciting. And all that even though I do not trust him with to save my life. I do take that medication that has saved my life. And I’m grateful for that. But let me ask you, what is it that we can we do as people living with HIV? What is it that we can do to be better advocates to help break the stigma because I kid you not. I’ll say I have HIV, your casual conversation because it comes up about for whatever reason, I can say that, and someone will look at me like, you have age, you’re gonna die. And I have to explain that it’s not the same thing. People are still very ignorant. That’s not an insult, ignorant, educated on the subject of education. Do I know

Maria Mejia
as ignorance, lack of education about the subject?

Joshua T Berglan
Yes. Yeah. So I’m not insulting you. But there is a lot of ignorance. There’s people that are ignorant to this. So what can we do to be more to spread awareness in a better way, but also to help break the stigma? Because not everybody is a chem sex addict that gets HIV, there’s normal people like yourself?

Maria Mejia
Well, this is my this is my My opinion is that we have to stop playing the stereotypes on HIV. For example, you as a heterosexual male, I’m sure when you disclose in certain circles, they’re not only thinking on the diet, but in being behind their mind or thinking as a as the bisexual Jana downlow. And that’s wrong. And that’s why many heterosexual males, it doesn’t matter what you have done in the past, no one has got to judge, you know, the important thing is what you’re doing now. So the reason that people are in the closet not taking medicine is because of the stigma, the stigma, discrimination, especially with heterosexual males that are afraid if you if you look at activists, almost all of them are from the LGBT community, which I advocate for and help. Why because I don’t know my life. For example, Bruce, one of them, will, who’s a great leader, he’s the one that pushed along with us, for the medical community to finally say the truth for Dr. FOSS you to say the truth because the field is that we were not infectious if you’re undetectable and don’t get me wrong now. I’m not here attacking Dr. Foshee got it to him and God i I only know is that my friend Peters daily, which was from New York that we used to go to the FDA and to the NIH these to walk in the buildings, they used to boycott. They used to raise hell to get treatment. And they thought that ashes of therapists in the White House want because they didn’t want to President Reagan which is was very beloved by my father. And you know, as I said, my conservative family, he didn’t want to stay where it aids on to he saw that it was starting to protect everyone. He was pretty much pressured into it. I suggest to you if I don’t know if you’ve seen it, how to survive a plague. It is the whole story of HIV and AIDS and the fight and and it was not only the men, people forget that women thought to we fought and women and not only gay white color, women we fought nurses, doctors, you know, they were they’re fighting for for medication, because when AZT came out, which was so toxic, so if we want to eradicate HIV, it starts with us. When I say the man in the mirror, it doesn’t matter to me. If I don’t agree with something. You understand what I’m saying? For example, of a person. Let’s just say I have people that follow me from my background, even atheists and, and I am super I mean, I’m not gonna say extremely Catholic, but I’m Christian. I believe in Christ. but also the Virgin Mary, you know, because part of my culture and you know, that’s just what I could talk to an atheist and have mutual respect, because he, he’s never gonna try to tell me that Jesus is there. He’s just the man just like me. No, no way. And I’m not going to go after him either we have the respect as far as the advocacy that we do. So, for example, I’m the founder of the to larger groups in the world with people that are infected and affected, even though we don’t like that word infected. Because sounds like we’re like we’re a biohazard. So we’re trying to change the language is advocates, but truth is the infectious disease doctor. So I have people from every background, Muslims, Christians, you know, everything, atheists, everything. So one of the things is that we don’t discuss, or we don’t have anyone because of who they are, because of what they believe in, if you want to believe that, that is God. I mean, I’m going to try to talk about my experience, but I’m not going to impose it on anyone. Because my work is not, that’s not my job. My job is that I am, I am a living example of what God did in my life. For me, and for those that believe in Christ.

If we want to get to zero, and we want people to get tested, we have to stop discriminating and stigmatizing. And saying, for example, when I get interviewed, and I’m glad that you didn’t do because you have to check yourself, but why not? Instead, they say, for me is where you were your prostitute? Were you? Did you have a lot of protected sex? And I say, excuse me and right live on TV, I say, excuse me, that’s a very inappropriate question, because there’s no one’s business how I contracted HIV. But no, I contracted it from my first boyfriend. But even if it was 1000 people that I was with, because of the self esteem I had, because of whatever situations I went through, as a child, no one has the right to judge me, but the Lord, that’s really what I believe in here. And that’s what people from every background, from every religion from no religion, and they told me privately, I don’t want to get tested, because you’re gonna think I’m gay. I don’t want to get tested, because you’re gonna say I’m a drug user. I don’t want to get to or have HIV. But I don’t want to go to the clinic, because they’re gonna say, oh, that, you know, that’s an HIV clinic. So what’s killing people now, now that we have access to treatment? Not not all over the world? Let me be really clear on that. If we fight for access streaming, for example, in Venezuela, with that monster that’s over there, President, whatever you want to call it, President, that thing over there, Komodo who doesn’t give access to treatment to people in Venezuela is horrible. So I’m talking about the United States, we have access to treatment. We have support groups, we have examples, what I wish I had someone like me to look up to and say, Oh, I’ve lived for 34 years and look good and work and thrive. Because it’s not only about surviving is about thriving. I wish I had all that. And so that’s how we’re gonna get to zero when we just humanize the condition when we start seeing each other as brothers and sisters, and understanding that this can happen against anyone and I want to tell you something, Joshua, I hope I’m not overstepping boundaries. But I’m kind of like, very raw and very honest, you didn’t. You didn’t deserve HIV. And you You do deserve a second chance because that’s what the Lord, that’s what Jesus Christ taught us. And I know you believe in Jesus. Oh, yeah. Because I’ve already investigated you.

Joshua T Berglan
He is my Lord and Savior, there is zero doubt.

Maria Mejia
Amen. So you know, that you deserve this is not a moral condition. It is a human condition.

Joshua T Berglan
Hallelujah. Yeah, that’s beautifully said. And I don’t, I don’t say that stuff to my, I don’t say things like that to myself anymore. You know, I sometimes get stuff in my brain. But I, I’m grateful for the opportunity I have. And in because once I became aware of that, I quit saying that I deserved it. I shifted my attitude about it to say, You know what, I’m going to do something with it. I have it. I’m going to do something with it. I’m going to do what God wants me to be. And I’ve been blessed with a platform. And I’m going to talk about it to anybody and everybody that where it’s necessary. I don’t hide from it. I’m, again, I It sounds crazy. But I’m grateful for all the trauma in my life because of how God has gotten to use it. I’m grateful for all the self inflicted stuff that I’ve done. What I wish I didn’t do was hurt so many really good people. Oh, I wish I could take that back. That said, I can’t. So now every day in my life moving forward, I’m going to do everything I can to make up for that fact and live the way that God wants me to. And fortunately for me, now, I have a whole bag full of stuff that no longer serves me, that God’s freed me from. But I get to use it now to hopefully set other people free from whatever their demons are, whatever their secrets are. And if I feel that I can share my truth and what I experience comfortably, and share what God’s done with it, then hopefully other people inspire other people to take their crap. And give it to God to and let him do something with it for them. Like, that’s all I really want. And that’s one of the joys of getting comfortable talking about having JB even the way that I got it. Because here’s the thing, unlike you, like I’m I was in the bathhouses, I was in with prostitutes, I was a prostitute, I did all that stuff. And so I met a lot of people in the process. I even saw preachers I even saw, I’ve seen, I’ve seen people from all walks of life. And you’re right, it is a human condition called sin. And, and we let the traumas of our past and our hurts and our pains we let that overtake us sometimes, and we make bad decisions. Because we never think to go God, please take this, we go to something like the tequila bottle, the meth, the whatever, to try to erase it from our brains. And even though we’ll get a temporary relief, guess what it comes all right, one and back. And the only thing that freed me, the most the drugs, it wasn’t working out. It wasn’t any of that it was Jesus. It was giving my life to Jesus and surrendering all of this, for him to take. And then he taught me how to use it for good, that has given me purpose. And that is why I’m grateful for having HIV and everything else. So yeah, it again, it’s because of people like you that I am able to do this, and I am so grateful for you for that.

Maria Mejia
Well, Joshua, you have to understand what you’re doing is very important, because men need examples up. You know, they’re always seeing a certain community, a certain specific community, and they don’t see themselves, you know, and what, so what you’re doing is very important, because not a lot of men are willing to go and say things and say that they have a perfectly you’re doing an amazing, amazing work is.

Joshua T Berglan
Well, thank you, Maria. Maria, please tell everybody where they can find you where they can help support your mission, so into promote anything and everything you want to promote?

Maria Mejia
Well, one of the things that I did, because I’ve been an activist for 24 years, one of the first things that I did is I said, what name can I use on social media. So it’s really a base. So once I started living with this human condition, HIV could conquer me and and I have from 12 year olds to eight year olds that, that follow me and everything in between my name on social media and media platform. And you can Google me as well to see my work is Maria, H, I V. Me, here, Ma. And you will say, Well, why would you put HIV in the middle of your name? Because I care what people think about me, this is me, this is above me. This is a mission. And I know that that is how I managed to attract the masses. And that’s what I’m doing and I’m not ashamed of it and I will never take it off.

Joshua T Berglan
Now love it. Maria, God bless you. If we can do anything to support you, please reach out. so blessed to have gotten to know you and follow you know, follow you on social media and what you’re up to. And you just, again, you’ve been a lot to me, and I’m so grateful for your time. Thank you.

Maria Mejia
Thanks and anything that we need. I’m here as well.

Joshua T Berglan
See you soon. Bye bye. Thank you Maria Maria here. I apologize about the sound issues and a little bit of delay there. Sometimes it happens. This is technology But her message nonetheless and who she is, as a person, she really probably could have went on for another 30 minutes talking about all the stuff she’s doing promoting. But you can go to live Mana worldwide.org or live Mana or.org Doesn’t matter. And you’ll be able to see all the links to be able to contact or you’ll see your full bio, everything she’s up to, or book and all that, that’ll be on our website for you. And of course, you can find that on Google News, or just scan. See I did it again, scan the barcode, and you’ll find it. Thank you so much for being here again. Why I’m not big on secrets. I pretty much made that clear now because I believe they kill you. But I will tell you though, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Whether it’s HIV, herpes, chem, sex addiction, it could be I mean, name it, name, name, the thing. Your uncle is abusing you, your boyfriend’s abusing your husband, your wife should be using all these things, these traumatic things. It’s like, okay, I’ve got this, every little trauma you’ve got, I don’t know why I just did this. But I’m gonna try to go with an analogy here. You’ve got a trauma, and it’s just stuck to you, it’s inside of you. It’s now hardwired into your DNA. And the more you keep it there, the more it’s going to penetrate, and get in and get in and get in and get in and just sit down to these deep corners of your body. And it’s never, it’s just going to sit there. And you may have thought that you drank it away, you shut it away, or whatever it may be. And then all of a sudden, one day you get triggered, something happens and it just roars out. Not your secret. The consequences of your secret. The consequences of your secrets, poison your soul, they poison your spirit. And it affects how you show up for other people. And how you show up for other people is what you’re going to get in return. It’s like lashing out at people guess what, it’s going to come back. This is why God says in the Bible, Jesus says, to turn the other cheek. Not to be a wussy. But because no matter what you do, unless if you kill the person, which there’s consequences for that. But no matter what you do, there’s going to be a consequence. You know, punch them back, they’re gonna punch you, friend jumpin uncle jumped in, depending where you’re going to fight could be all the cousins. Like I would never get in a fight and why ever, I get five generations a cousin showing up just to whip your butt, for whatever reason. There’s consequences for this. But here’s the thing. If you can have the faith to say God, I surrender this to you. Please give me the courage to talk to somebody about this. Or just, again, whatever it may be that you’re holding in. To give it to God to let Him guide you how to use it. Let him take it from you to put something back in. And this could be anything. It’s not just secrets. It’s it’s pain and sorrow. It’s worry, it’s concerned. It’s financial worries, it can be any of this. Give it to God. It’s so simple. Yet we all make it complicated. We all make it complicated. I have been hurting so bad ever since I fell out of the dadgum tree it was freakin painful to try to love my trees get trees all over the place here. Climb a tree and I was pruning it fell most painful thing anyway, while that was happening and all this other drama like real life drama that was happening that had nothing to do with but it was coming at me anyway. And it was just heartbroken because it was coming from believers

it’s heartbroken or sad. And I and I and I felt so heavy and for the first time in my life I’ve had like I felt this anxiety that I didn’t understand and I remember like my Jessica said just go like if you go punch something go like beat up a boxing bag like just let it out and like or cry or whatever we couldn’t couldn’t move I was paralyzed with it. So I’m not judging you for not talking about I’m not judging you or criticizing you because I get it I it’s so hard to let out sometimes There’s a it’s a real fear but I’m telling you, once you just let it come out of your mouth and you surrender it or you talk to a friend about it, you confess it again. It’s it’s just it’s any of it really works. It does. I mean, I really think going to God and trusting him with it and letting Him guide you, but for me, it was you need to go on your broadcasts and talk about it. Talk about all of it, and want to do that. But it’s been amazing because now I have it’s given me a confidence and just I’m the absence of fear most of the time about talking about these things but God’s plan for it you God’s plan for you. Even the bad stuff is good. Because God can use the bad stuff for good he can make the good great. There’s only so far and so much we can do on our own. With God, we can make the impossible happen. We can make the ordinary extraordinary. We can make the pain joy. Good Great.

HR HIV is not a death sentence. But you owe it to yourself to find out especially specially if you’re jabbed and boosted and especially if you’re having unprotected sex with people you don’t know and and you know what she was right about something you don’t know who your partner is having sex with to. And I can’t believe I’m gonna say this, but I have to say it because I live this life and it’s necessary. If you suspect that your partner maybe you know, playing both sides of the fence in other words, they’re bisexual, or they could be cheating. Even if you a woman’s intuition is like the most super biggest superpower I’ve ever seen on Earth. Women just have this amazing ability just enough but not write about everything. superdad government their intuition is really good. Unless of you beat it out of them. You gaslight him to death and you tell them that they’re crazy. And you know, you may you know, get narcissists know what I’m talking about. But if you even suspect your partner’s cheating, both of you get tested. If you love each other get tested it doesn’t it. There’s not even a cost for the most of these tests. Now, there’s a free clinic everywhere. It’s worth knowing if your jab and boosted go get your CD for in CDA counts checked. This is Not a Conspiracy anymore. It wasn’t a conspiracy when I first said it, but you know, it was still in that category. But now there’s evidence every day about what’s happening. But she’s saying it’s not a death sentence. She has AIDS, I didn’t know that part.

So there’s a chance. And the sooner you know, the better. Because the sooner you can get the treatment, the sooner you can get the immune, immune boosting medication. And even I mean, the medication I take works for me. But the new meds are even better. Even better. As far as shutting this down, of course, I don’t know what the other side effects are. I’m not educated on that, because I just take mine. My side effect is inflammation. And it’s miserable sometimes. But I get to live the life that I dreamed of. And you can too. I don’t believe that’s possible without the Lord. I don’t really think anything extraordinary is possible without him.

Anyway, God bless you. Thank you for being here. And again, please get tested. It’s worth knowing. And you know what? The worst thing really that can happen is you have to tell people the truth about it. And even though you’re scared and worried and all that other stuff. Your story gets to impact people. Your story gets to Make a difference a good difference in someone else’s life but if you run from it if you hide from it it’s just going to poison you give it to God and let Him do something with it for you thank you for watching

Transcribed by https://otter.ai