Meet Daniel, a doctor, healthcare professional and student of Sociocultural Anthropology from Venezuela, currently residing in Madrid. Daniel, who lives with HIV, actively pursues his studies and is dedicated to promoting equal rights for LGBTQIA+ individuals through his work with the NGO Acción Triángulo in Madrid.

Acción Triángulo is very fortunate to have Dr. Daniel collaborating with them. The NGO is committed to advocating for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex, asexual, and diverse sexualities, expressions, and gender identities, and it focuses primarily on the migrant population.

When I asked about the moment Daniel learned about his HIV diagnosis, he shared that it occurred six years ago when, during routine testing at the NGO, he discovered a test kit left unused. Daniel decided to perform an oral swab and confirmed it with a subsequent blood test upon realising a positive result. Despite having the option to delay starting antiretroviral treatment, Daniel chose to commence immediately for his safety and that of his partner.

Interestingly, Daniel is aware of healthcare professionals like doctors, nurses, and pharmacists who live with HIV as he does, but they opt to keep their status private instead. When I asked Daniel about this, he explained that the prevalent stigma associated with HIV makes many healthcare professionals reluctant to disclose their status publicly.

I asked about his decision to be open about his status, and Daniel expressed that it became a necessity. Facing questions about time off for medical appointments at work, he found it burdensome to keep his HIV status a secret. Daniel decided that it was easier to be transparent and concluded that anyone unwilling to be around him due to his HIV status wasn’t worth keeping in his circle.

Reflecting on an encounter with a nurse at his HIV clinic, Daniel recounted an incident where he was questioned about his condom use. Despite being truthful about using condoms approximately 80% of the time, the nurse challenged his honesty, highlighting the persistent stigma surrounding HIV.

Daniel lives a healthy life, takes one pill a day, and continues to live with an undetectable level, and he hopes to see a cure soon.