Wednesday, May 13, 2009

How is Luis Guerra healthy?

I am healthy by following a simple rule in my life… Being the best I can be. And I am reminded of this rule constantly while doing HIV prevention work in San Francisco and working with HIV+ folks that have a much better understanding of the concept of health than the average population.

Without a doubt, I believe HIV+ people have their personal health as the number one priority as well as the health of people they love. Not only in the physical level but in the psychological and social level as well. From them, I have learned the importance of taking care of my body, my personal life, my mental health and my social environment.

With my 5’6, 178 pounds, drinking and smoking habits and a very hyperactive (I can easily hit 8 bars per night) and workaholic personality, we can safely say I have never being “the good boy” of the health field. But from friendship and mostly mentorship of the local POZ community in San Francisco, I have been able to take control of my life and take some strong decisions to be a healthier person.

I am still dealing with my workaholic tendencies but now I keep an organized agenda that helps me track the amount of hours I work per week, making me more effective and reliable in my work engagements. Socially, I keep putting myself out there and engage in random conversations with bus riders, streetwalkers and dogs. However, I’ve learned to keep honest people close to me so I can rely on them for a good talk or cry.

My biggest struggle is drawing the line between my personal and work life. Hard not to mix them since I am always in the community I work for. But now I am getting in peace with the idea of me not being able to help every single individual I see or talk in the streets. Still a work in progress but working on it.

The other way I have to keep myself healthy is through taking care of my body. I have been able to channel my hyperactivity into sports. Little by little I went from running 3 miles a week to 45 miles per week. Every time I get frustrated, I do Kick Boxing… and normally that happens 4 times a week. Training for the San Francisco Marathon, traded my car for a bicycle and popcorn for baby carrots. But will never give up on my beloved carbs. I love rice, bread and carrot cakes too much to give them away… I’ll rather run a couple of extra miles than living without Arroz con Pollo.

Smoke free, occasional drinks and 38 pounds later, I am healthier by thriving to be the best I can be.

-- Luis Guerra
San Francisco

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  1. Perhaps the strength and vibrancy of the gym/beefcake culture in the gay community really begain in earnest when HIV+ men really began to focus on improving their health. Sometimes we focus on the horrors of the past when it comes to HIV, but there have been good results as well, and I think this is probably one of them.

  2. 45 miles per week? Good Lord. But as usual, I am inspired by you.


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