Photo: AIDS awareness
Immigrants with HIV virus deported from the United States are finding refuge at the Las Memorias shelter in the Mexican border city of Tijuana, the only one in Baja California state to deal with AIDS patients.
Founded 14 years ago with the idea of helping HIV/AIDS victims with little money and nowhere to live, Las Memorias is currently home to 90 people, about half of them deported from the U.S.
Among its services the shelter provides medicines, transport to health-care centers and informative sessions on the disease.
As its founder, Jose Antonio Granillo, told Efe, the shelter was started because the border area needed a specialized refuge that would not reject people with HIV.
It’s very sad to see how many people are left to die on the streets of Tijuana without having been attended with dignity.”
In the majority of cases, the illness is related to addiction problems, for which the residents at the shelter have to follow a treatment there to overcome their dependences.
“Disinformation is a huge obstacle,” he said. “That’s what keeps us working to raise awareness in the community and in that way, teach new generations.”
Las Memorias has attended 2,250 carriers of the virus and victims of addiction since the day it opened its doors. Most of them have been able to improve and readjust to society, Granillo said.