When we expanded our HIV education and testing program last year, Delmy joined our staff to educate community members, make home visits and provide nutritional support to the poorest of our patients. She has a story remarkably similar to our patients’ making her a powerful advocate and provider.
Ten years ago she had a baby daughter and two older children when she learned she was HIV positive. “I thought I was going to die,” she says.
Delmy developed toxoplasmosis causing paralysis of one side of her body which made it difficult to walk. Once, while trying to get up the steps of a bus while carrying her baby girl she fell because she had lost sensation in her leg. It took her a year of physical therapy to regain use of her limbs. What kept her going was knowing that as a single mother, her 3 young children were entirely reliant on her. She now counsels patients, gently pushing and encouraging them to work hard at their recovery.
In these 10 years, Delmy has become a very active and public advocate for people living with HIV. She has served on national committees, attended conferences and helped shape policy. About her work at SU she says, “I don’t like it, I love it!” She is a leader and we are so fortunate to have her work with us.