Young gay man tortured and murdered in Cancun after revealing his HIV status

09/06/2021

A young gay man was tortured, burned, and murdered after revealing that he was HIV-positive last weekend in Cancun, reported Tuesday an organization defending the LGBTTI+ community in the state. According to the version of representatives of the organization Resilientxs, which made the case known last Saturday, the victim was at a party in Cancun where he revealed his HIV status, before which some of the attendees allegedly tortured, burned, and finally killed him.

"The victim was killed inside a blacksmith shop; she was beaten, tortured, burned and killed once she commented that she had HIV, she had many stab wounds," Edwin Reyes, representative of Resilientxs, told Efe. "This case has generated a lot of anger because we are in the month that commemorates the pride of our community and in which we ask for and demand rights," he added.

After learning of the case, the head of the Human Rights Commission of Quintana Roo, Marco Antonio Tóh, condemned the hate crime. He also informed that the General Inspector's Office in Cancun will carry out the corresponding diligence to see that justice is done in the case and exhorted the authorities to investigate with a gender perspective and that the crime does not go unpunished.

Meanwhile, the Attorney General's Office (FGE) of Quintana Roo opened an investigation for the crime of homicide, but not for hate crime, because this crime is not yet typified in the Penal Code of the entity. "The LGBT Quintana Roo Network, of which we are part, has requested all authorities to make a reform to the Penal Code to include hate crimes, according to international standards," explained Reyes.

"But they have not done so nor have they taken us into account, this speaks of the institutional abandonment that exists in the state", added the activist, who emphasized that the one denounced "is not an isolated case and that discrimination towards the LGBTTI+ community in the Mexican Caribbean is recurrent". According to the organization Letra S, Mexico registered 79 murders against people of the LGBT community in 2020. Of these, 43 of them were homicides of trans women.

Myth: Having HIV means you have AIDS

HIV and AIDS have constantly been heard as synonyms, however, it is important to clarify that they are not and a diagnosis of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus does not always mean condemnation for the person who has acquired it.

The virus attacks the defense cells of the human body called CD4 T-lymphocytes, altering or nullifying their function. The infection causes a progressive deterioration of the immune system and when uncontrolled, evolves more rapidly into what is commonly known as AIDS and is defined by the presence of any of the more than twenty opportunistic infections or HIV-related cancers.

The virus is found in blood, sex organ fluids (pre-ejaculatory fluid, semen, vaginal discharge), and breast milk and can, therefore, be transmitted through vaginal, anal, or oral sex with an infected person, transfusion of contaminated blood, or sharing of needles, syringes or other sharp instruments. It can also be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding.

Once HIV is inside the body's cells, it uses them to replicate without causing any prior discomfort, which is why this stage is known as asymptomatic. It is because of this stage that the infected person is not treated promptly and some discomfort is detected when the infection has evolved into such a disease. Without early diagnosis and treatment, there is a greater chance that HIV infection will develop into AIDS, which is why life expectancy and quality of life are considerably reduced.

Currently, the only way to know if you have HIV is through a laboratory test that detects antibodies against the virus in blood or saliva and the way to treat infected people is through various antiretroviral drugs and comprehensive medical care that allow increasing life expectancy and quality of life.