Iris Matias-Quintana was formerly employed by the United States Postal Service and has worked as an administrative assistant for many years. In the spring of 1995 Iris was diagnosed with HIV, and then had to battle her first opportunistic infection (O/I) thrush. One year later (Spring 1996) Iris was hospitalized and diagnosed with an AIDS defining opportunistic infection, cryptocococal meningitis, which made her blind, hard off hearing in both ears (uses hearing aids), now a wheelchair user, and her hands have been contracted and has dexterity of her thumb and forefinger on each hand (unfortunately the hospital staff was concentrating on keeping her alive that the problems with her hands became a secondary problem).
After being hospitalized for four months Iris was transferred to a nursing home for rehabilitation and physical therapy, where she resided for four years and was discharged in October 2000. Upon being discharged Iris attended several AIDS Education Training Centers (AETC) where she got her certification as a Peer Educator/Counselor at a major AIDS Designated Center (ADC) hospital in Brooklyn. Iris has counseled newly diagnosed HIV infected patients and has done extensive community outreach in the Brownsville, Bushwick, East New York and Bedford Stuyvesant communities of Brooklyn.
Iris Matias has been featured in Body Positive's nationally distributed magazine SIDA (April 2002), detailing her life after being diagnosed with HIV, and her struggles as a Differently-abled (blind/visually impaired, deaf/hard of hearing, physically and/or mentally challenged) person living with HIV/AIDS.
In the fall of 2003 Iris and the co-founders conceptualized and formed Perceptions for People with Disabilities, realizing that there is a gap in services for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA's) who are differently-abled.
Iris Matias is a mother and recently became a proud grandmother (Jan. 2008).
Iris has enrolled in college to get her degree in Human Services.