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Sunday, February 8, 2009


The idea of an experienced HIV positive person working with a newly diagnosed person is not unique. It makes a lot of sense on many levels. There are so many things to learn and absorb as one enters the HIV treatment arena, i.e. names of meds, blood test results, acronyms to name just a few. Also, however, there are habits that need to change for one to become successful with their own healthcare. Recommended doctor visits must increase from the sporadic ones that most people engage in, or on an as-needed basis, to regular checkups with blood draws involved to monitor the progress of the virus. This usually becomes once every 3 to 6 months in most cases and is a far cry from the now and then behaviors prior.

And finally there are the emotional hills and valleys that accompany a diagnosis. A person moves through them, much as they move through the loss of a loved one. There is shock, denial and disbelief, anger, bargaining and finally acceptance. Many of us who were diagnosed early on may not have grieved properly as so many of our contemporaries were slipping away completely and we might have been busy attending funerals and helping sick friends, although keeping busy felt like it kept us sane in so many ways. But grieving our former health is normal and almost required before true acceptance kicks in.

This is merely a snapshot of the roller coaster that new Poz persons embark upon and it may be that newly hired and degreed case managers may not have a full grasp on the enormity of emotions and questions involved. But experienced Poz persons are more likely to understand these nuances. We have trekked these emotional “14’ers” as it were, and can make great guides. HIV ONE ON ONE allows us to do this. We need you. These newcomers need you. HIV ONE ON ONE is meant to develop and train people to do just this. Take what we know and reach out and share that knowledge.

The 1st rollout will be a training of “trainers”. This will be geared specifically toward experience poz persons who are also good communicators and will be comfortable teaching the self-management module and the “how to be a mentor” module to groups of people. They should have experience in public speaking and a solid history of recurring and steady healthcare. They would also benefit from the ability to troubleshoot an emotional situation and be comfortable asking for help in such situations. There will be an application process for everyone to ensure transparency and equity in the process. We are hoping to be inclusive of all genders, all races, and all languages.

We are looking for mentors as well, but that training and targeted roundup will happen more toward June 2009. There will be room as we continue to roll out for all who want to be involved to be involved. And we would like each and every one of you to be involved. Even if it’s simply supporting our idea and steering people towards it, we need all of you to consider getting on board. This ride may not be easy, but it doesn’t have to be lonely, either. I hope you’ll consider joining our efforts. Please email to ask for more information and/or to get an application.

today's sound choice is a acoustic remake of young folks by james blunt. i absolutely find it enchanting.



Marc said...

Perhaps I am an awful poz person, but I just don't get what so traumatic about seroconverting these days. Not that I don't think it shouldn't be mightily discouraged, for the mere cost of the meds to society/insurance and the nuisance of side effects, but I am appalled/amazed that some people are still hearing a diagnosis as some kind of death sentence. We were dying--literally--for these treatments 20 years ago, would have danced in the streets if they were available. Where is the gratitude that we have them now? Are the five stages of grief remotely appropriate when imminent death is hardly likely? Are we encouraging an overdramatic reaction by treating HIV so dramatically? My doctor has become far more concerned with Hep C and Staph infections now.
That said, I think it's an elegant idea and entirely worthy.

Sheria said...

I think that any diagnosis of a major illness is difficult because it reminds us of our mortality, regardless of whether death is imminent or not. Having someone to answer your questions who knows what it is to walk in your shows makes a difference. When i was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 8 years ago, I really appreciated the support group that I joined. Great idea and I love the logo.

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