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Eddie Gonzalez Is #16 of Our Most Amazing HIV+ People of 2018

Eddie Gonzalez

The actor/director is changing lives through theater and film.

Eddie Gonzalez says it may seem strange to say you’re “proud to be HIV-positive,” but he knows for a fact that a status holds no shame. “Being proud of living with the virus does not implicate I want everyone else to be infected… I simply am a proud person living with HIV because I like to use myself as an example to help others. I want people to reject the stigma… and keep a positive mind. That’s why I always use my own slogan, ‘If you’re positive… you can’t be negative!’”

The 38-year-old HIV-positive writer, actor, and advocate from Houston, Texas has been fighting to end stigma and discrimination so “those of us living with HIV have a reason to fight to keep on living — but we need to start from the core of the advocacy community. I’ve seen the need in diversity and equality, and I can vividly see the need to fight for advocate unity in order to gain the respect we all seek.”

After testing positive, Gonzalez — who has written several theatrical plays, short stories, movie scripts, and an episodic web-series — collaborated with FLAS Inc. (an HIV agency in Houston) to produce theatrical plays touching on topics such as HIV, domestic violence, and substance abuse. There’s a short play that Gonzalez wrote that he is particularly proud of called Estigma Seropositivo, (Seropositive Stigma) which he presented on World AIDS Day, and is based on actual events from his life. “I share my testimony at the end,” he says. “I have had people come up to thank me for changing their thoughts on the matter, and the message given convinces people to get tested at the end of the event.”

Gonzalez has also been producing a web-series called FlasNOVELAS, a novela-style anthology aimed at educating his community in Houston on social subjects such as HIV, sex work, and PrEP.

“I’ve had the honor to write every single episode based on real testimonies. The series has been gratefully accepted internationally, and we have presented it in various conferences, including at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

Gonzalez is also part of the Greater Than AIDS campaign, We Are Family, which helped him spread the word on the importance of family, since support can make life easier and healthier for someone living with HIV.

“Everything that I have done, and will continue doing, is to simply give a message of hope, to never quit, and to always stay positive.”

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