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90% of women in Mexico with HIV
(human immunodeficiency virus) acquired the virus from a stable partner, according to the Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF) .
Upon presenting their new documentary “Debajo de los laureles” (Under the Laurels) , the organization highlighted the importance of using a condom during every sexual encounter, be it with a stable or casual partner. They also recommended engaging in self-care practices and empowering women in view of the country’s predominant sexism.
The Museum of Women in Mexico City has opened its doors for the documentary premier, as well as a conference with women who gave their testimony for the creation of the documentary.
Silvia Carmona, an activist and founder of Casa David
thanked the participants for their courage. “In giving their testimony before the camera, we can see and hear that these are not ordinary women. Today I realize that all this 26-year struggle and effort could have been avoided if I had used a condom during sex with my husband. Then I wouldn’t have allowed HIV to enter my body.”
“This disease poses a challenge for us because of the rejection we face, but we have been able to move on thanks to recent medical advances. I would like to leave a message for young women not to trust their partner with their lives. It is up to each of us to protect ourselves,” said Pilar, another participant.
In Mexico, out of all 230,000 people living with HIV in 2017 , 21.7% were women, which makes them a vulnerable group among people who have unprotected sex.
Silvia Elizabeth Gómez Narváez, director of the documentary
, called on women to assume responsibility for their bodies and their lives, putting themselves before anyone else, as well as to modify a culture that normalizes violence.
Blanca Martínez Torres, national coordinator of rapid testing and HIV prevention at AHF Mexico
, pointed out that “Debajo de los Laureles” sought to promote the use of condoms in every sexual relationship. “Should their partner show reluctance to engage in protected sex, we invite them to get tested every six months, because they live in a situation of permanent risk,” she added.
The documentary gathers the stories of women living with HIV who share their individual experience to promote autonomy and the setting of boundaries among women, regardless of their status.