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 and AIDS. She is currently the co-chair of the Women and Minorities Outreach for the Dab the AIDS BEAR project. Maria is an ambassador for the CDCs “Let’s Stop HIV Together / Detengamos el VIH Juntos” campaign, “The Stigma Project,” The Well Project, and the Greater than AIDS (IPV, Women, HIV, and Women) Empowered campaign.
Diagnosed with HIV in 1991 and infected in 1988 at 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 is a volunteer for the Red Cross, an HIV educator and tester for Jackson Memorial Hospital, a motivational speaker all over the globe, an HIV consultant, and a member of several advisory boards, including Janssen Pharmaceuticals and The Well Project. She sits on the Board of Directors for CANN and Ariana’s Center and is currently representing the state of Florida as an advisor and consultant for Gilead’s Compass Initiative.