At three months pregnant with her second child, Julia was diagnosed with HIV. Thus, began her journey living "positively positive" with HIV. She admits it has been a long road filled with failure and triumph.
At first, she did not accept her diagnosis, therefore she did not adhere to her antiretroviral treatment. It was not until 1999 did she start taking her antiretroviral medication regularly. That same year, she was diagnosed with Kaposi Sarcoma, an opportunistic infection. Julia received treatment for 1 year 1/2 and is today cancer free. She considers herself very fortunate for the love and support she has received from her family and strongly believes it is because of their support and unconditional love that she has been able to thrive and live "positively positive" with HIV for the past 33 years.
Along the way, she completed the HIV Counselor Certificate program at Hostos Community College in 2013. Julia also completed the Arrive/Exponents comprehensive eight weeks HIV/AIDS education and substance abuse training program. She received her PEER certification at Stony Brook in New York in 2019, as well as attended numerous training sessions at Cicatelli, Department of Health and Latino Commission on AIDS. Currently, she works for The Family Center as a Client Support Specialist/Certified PEER Worker and facilitates a peer support group for those living with HIV. Julia co-facilitates The Positive Life Workshop, a self-management program and until July of this year, she led a woman's journaling group specifically for women living with HIV. Julia is committed to helping individuals live healthy and productive lives living with HIV.
She is very passionate about her work at The Family Center and believes she is very fortunate to be able to give back and teach what she has learned... self-acceptance, self-love, and support.