- On July 2, 2015
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With the help of AFABI (Agencia Familiar Binacional), a nonprofit in Tijuana launched in 2004 to assist people with HIV, Susi began receiving antiretroviral drugs. Dr. Patricia González worked at AFABI and recommended Susi for the main outreach job at El Cuete.
Susi has not used heroin since 2001, and her HIV levels have been undetectable since 2005. For people who are battling addictions, homelessness, poverty, and depression—the very people who are living with HIV or at high risk of becoming infected—Susi represents hope. She also provides guidance to those who want treatment and need help staying on it. And she plays a central, if somewhat invisible, role for researchers at UCSD, as she is welcomed in sometimes unwelcoming places like El Bordo.
Two-thirds of the people who inject drugs in Tijuana have latent tuberculosis, but many users wear surgical masks for a different reason. They believe the masks scare away police, who are afraid of catching TB themselves.