carlos-cabrera-baiCarlos Antonio Cabrera May knew since he was a child that he wanted to be a doctor. So, when he graduated from Prepa, he applied and was accepted into Medical School at Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán. When he finished his six-year degree, he, like all graduating doctors in Mexico, performed his year of social service. Unlike other doctors, however, because he was so effective in his work, he was placed in two six-month service terms (in Pustunich and Santa Elena) rather than one 12-month posting. In 2007-08 he was named Doctor of the Year in one of the three health districts (District #3) of Yucatán.

While in these rural settings, he was struck by the enormous impact of HIV and AIDS on the people there. At the same time, he was approached by Dr. Gordon Crofoot, the co-founder, president, and medical director of Brazos Abiertos, Inc. a nonprofit corporation in the State of Texas. Dr. Crofoot and Brazos Abiertos work on the education and treatment of HIV. Carlos was invited to represent Brazos’ sister organization, Fundación BAI A.C., a Mexican corporation with non-profit status. He started out as a volunteer and is now the Director General. He wears many hats, but mainly is the CEO in Mexico as well as the supervisor for all the programs. (

Yucatán has the seventh highest ranking in Mexico for the incidence of HIV, largely spread by unprotected sex. 23% of new infections are in women. Fundación BAI A.C. is a registered non-profit corporation established in México since 2007, whose mission is to empower the people of Yucatán to respond to HIV/AIDS, and whose vision is to be the catalyst for change where knowledge, prevention, and treatment of HIV/AIDS replace fear, discrimination, prejudice, and death for those infected. BAI has several areas of focus: education and prevention campaigns, school workshops, volunteer training, teen pregnancy prevention, adult education, health fairs, HIV detection campaigns with free confidential anonymous testing, counseling, linkage to medical care, monthly follow-up, psychotherapy, and nutrition counseling. Much of the work is centered around lifting the stigma and discrimination associated with the disease. The HIV Education and Prevention Center, on Avenida Yucatán in Jardines de Mérida hosts all their programs. Donors are very important to continue operating this space.

Carlos says he has grown immensely as a person since his work began. “Working on the stigma associated with HIV gives people the opportunity to be tested when they are at risk,” he says. “We help them to feel a part of society, and that their world is not crashing down; with treatment advances, it is no longer a death sentence. With higher self-esteem there is less depression and fewer suicides. We help people to achieve a good life expectancy.” Carlos is particularly careful to emphasize the human side of medical care. “For me, the human part is not forgotten. I believe that ‘medicine’ involves the treatment of people, not patients. I hope that my humanity helps people to overcome their illnesses.” On the subject of medical advances, Carlos says, “Medically, there may be a cure for HIV/ AIDS one day. But until we cure the psychological damage, we will still have HIV. We need to abolish the disease completely.”

by Juanita Stein

Recommended reading:
Face to Face: Paula Sievert
Face to Face: George Ann Huck
Face to Face: Erich Briehl
Face to Face: Abel Vasquez and Melva Medina
Face to Face: Mathieu & Stephanie Bress
Face to Face: Monique Duval
Face to Face: Dr. Carlos Cabrera
Face to Face: Ralf Hollmann
Face to Face: Connie Leal Delgado
Face to Face: Wayne Trotter


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