A Peruvian Survivor Fights to Bridge the Gap Between Prevention and Treatment

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Enrique Chavez, 44, of Lima, Peru, said he’s the living face of HIV.
The South American delegate to the 2011 U.N. High Level Meeting on AIDS said he was not afraid of dying because, after 21 years of living with HIV, he’s still here.
“Maybe God has a plan for me, to show someone can live with HIV, not AIDS,” he said this week. “There’s a difference. … You can live if you take care of yourself.”

Chavez was told he had HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, in 1990, when he was 23. He has been taking medication ever since. With recent advances in medication, Chavez, along with notable HIV patients such as Magic Johnson, are living longer and healthier lives. But Chavez said there were still disparities in treatment, care and support for HIV patients in his country.

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