I tested HIV-positive in 2004. But for two and a half years, I hid my diagnosis from friends, family, and co-workers. I was carrying a lot of stress and shame.
I went to my doctor and everything, but I didn’t really feel like reaching out for help beyond that. And then I was diagnosed with cancer. All of that came together and finally prompted me to make a change in my life.
I first came to Positive Force just as I was recovering from chemo therapy. I was still coming to terms with my HIV diagnosis, so I started out by volunteering.
I knocked on the door and said, “what can I do to help?” At the time I had been out of work for a year and a half, so I wasn’t really sure how much I could do or what job I could do. I started by stuffing envelopes and mailing thank you letters to people who had donated to Dining Out for Life. It gave me such a good feeling to be of use for something and to be of service to people living with HIV.
I was welcomed with open arms as a volunteer, and then later I decided it was time to go through the PLUS Seminar to help me overcome a lot of the barriers I was facing in my life with regards to HIV.
I had a lot of fear around medications, but PLUS helped me to overcome those fears. I was able to work around my barriers to taking medication. Getting expert advice, I came out of that weekend with a clear path.
Now, I’m about to graduate from UCSF as a nurse practitioner with an HIV specialty. I feel like Positive Force, the PLUS Seminar, and all the people who work here have helped me tremendously on this journey. They have helped me turn something that I thought was terrible in my life into something that has made my life quite meaningful. It’s been a huge transformation for me.
Join the men of Positive Force at one of our upcoming events!