Matthew
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David Douglas Brad Jonathan Manuel Matthew Tony Element

I first heard about Positive Force on Facebook. So I came in and met with a staff member who helped me to assess my needs. Then a few weeks later I went to the PLUS Seminar.

PLUS is for guys who are newly diagnosed, or newly dealing with their diagnosis. I’m part of the latter group. I went to the seminar four years after I was first diagnosed. Until that point, I didn’t want to deal with my diagnosis. I had a lot of shame about becoming HIV positive.

The PLUS weekend was so powerful. I had been in groups of other HIV-positive guys before, but nobody ever talked about it. It was so empowering to be among a group of guys who were all going through the same thing. It was kind of like coming out all over again.

Something else incredible happened as a result of PLUS. After the first day of the seminar, I went home and called my dad, whom I hadn’t spoken to in five years. We now have a good relationship and we continue to talk.

The people I met at PLUS are still some of my closest friends today. We need more programs like Positive Force to take away the stigma that still exists with HIV. We need to talk about it more so that people don’t feel isolated or shameful, and so that they feel comfortable reaching out for help.

I’m still involved with Bridgemen, doing community service projects for our community. I also attend public forums. I’m committed to sharing my story so that other guys will be inspired to seek help.


Are you ready to meet other poz guys in person?

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

David Douglas Brad Jonathan Manuel Matthew Tony Element