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Vince Chalwe Rudy Keisuke Michael Derrick

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.

Are you ready to meet other poz guys in person?

Join the men of Positive Force at one of our upcoming events!

Vince Chalwe Rudy Keisuke Michael Derrick