Joana gives charlas, or presentations, all around Honduras about living with HIV. She encourages people to get tested, educates them about avoiding the disease, and shares ways to live long, healthy lives if they are HIV-positive. Her message of strength is a beacon of hope for those who have been diagnosed with HIV and don’t know where to turn.
“Miss Valerie” Nelson, the leader of the nonprofit Familias Saludables, has worked for many years to support Joana and others affected by HIV. At the Familias Saludables clinic in Coxen Hole, Roatán, and in projects around Honduras, they offer free, confidential HIV tests, condoms to prevent the spread of the virus, and counseling and material support to families struggling with the many burdens of HIV and AIDS.
We interviewed Joana at the Familias Saludables clinic and at her home in the spring of 2012. This video was edited by volunteer Jay Windland. Joana’s Story was featured at the Upstream Nonprofit Film Festival in Seattle on Oct. 30, 2012.
We’re thankful to Joana for bravely telling her story, Valerie Nelson and the entire staff of Familias Saludables for setting up these interviews, and volunteers Hannah Whitmore and Michelle Kozlowski for production support.