Ruby Mercenario is a 32-year-old transgender woman who receives care at the Francisco Gonzalvo public hospital in the La Romana province of the Dominican Republic. She praises the benefits of receiving services at a place free of stigma and discrimination.
En la República Dominicana, la epidemia del Virus de Inmunodeficiencia Humana (VIH) se caracteriza por estar concentrada en poblaciones como la de hombres que tienen sexo con hombres (HSH) y las mujeres trans. La prevalencia del VIH en HSH es de un 5.2 % , mientras que en algunos estudios en poblaciones trans, el VIH oscila entre 12 y 17 % .
Tashana Legall was born to a low income family in Guyana and lost both her parents to HIV/AIDS. In 2007, Tashana enrolled in a program for children orphaned or made vulnerable by HIV (HKID) at Comforting Hearts. The organization was a source of psychological, nutritional, spiritual and academic support to Tashana for several years. The continued nurturance and support from the staff at CH enabled Tashana to progress at school.
Gillian, a visually impaired 41-year-old, found out that she was HIV-positive when her family insisted that she go to the doctor because she was losing weight at a rapid rate. For 3 years she shut herself away from her family and friends, never disclosing her status to anyone. One day she decided to tell a classmate who happened to be a social worker at Lifeline Counselling Services (LCS) and enrolled Gillian in a People Living with HIV (PLHIV) and AIDS support group at LCS.