Girl Diary: Thinking Positive

High school senior Natalia Barra decided to share her story with us.

“My mom had me at a young age and went through a lot of struggles through her life,” Barra said. “I knew one thing for sure. I did not want to have sex until I was old enough to take care of a baby. I ended up finding out that having a baby is not the worst thing that can happen to somebody.”

She changed her mind when she fell in love after dating her boyfriend for six months. She decided she wanted to take her relationship to the next level. Her boyfriend was two years older than her and was working full time as a waiter. She confessed to him that it would be the first time that she had ever even thought of having sex.

“I was so in love and I asked myself what could possibly happen in one night,” Barra said. “My boyfriend broke up with me after that night. It was then when I realized how I should have stuck to my guns on not having sex until I was ready to have a child.”

“I decided to test myself because after my boyfriend left me, the next week he was dating somebody else,” Barra said. She decided to have herself tested because she found out her ex-boyfriend had several partners in the past. She went to the doctor and got the devastating news. She was diagnosed HIV positive a year ago. It was only one night of taking a risk that has cost her worry for the rest of her life.

“I had heard of STD’s before, but I never really took them very seriously. I never thought I would be infected with anything since for the most part I am a very healthy person.”

Barra said it is important for young Latinas to be informed of STD’s and sex in general. Barra will be treated with medication for the rest of her life, so that she can stay alive. HIV is a disease that must be constantly treated because it is can deadly. Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a set of symptoms and infections resulting from the damage to the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This condition progressively reduces the effectiveness of the immune system and leaves individuals susceptible to infections. HIV is transmitted through direct contact with blood and other bodily fluids. Barra found out the hard way that HIV can be contracted just through one sexual contact.

“I hope that people realize how important it is to be informed about STD’s, especially young people in their teens,” Barra said.

Thanks to medications, Barra’s HIV has not progressed into AIDS. She is still hopeful. She has made it her personal mission to let other Latinitas know that this could happen to them. She recommends that girls wait to have sex. She encourages Latinitas use protection every time and get themselves tested.

By Jackie Baylon

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