Wednesday, April 15, 2009
it's like that
7 Important Facts about Strength In Numbers (SIN):
SIN represents a global association of poz gay men (there is no technical "membership" )
Our belief is that any gay guy who has tested positive for HIV is a part of our movement. There's no membership fee as the price for entry has been costly enough already!
SIN respects your privacy and right to keep your HIV status confidential
If you join one of our chapters or email lists, it is never shared with anyone. And we never ask guys in SIN to give us their full name or photo. We believe that everyone living with HIV/AIDS has the right to determine for themselves whether they want to tell no one, someone or everyone about their HIV status.
SIN has an extremely diverse participation (all ages, races, incomes, length in time of infection)
The guys who participate in SIN groups or interact with other SIN chapters come from every walk of life. HIV is color-blind, infects at any age, doesn't disappear over decades, and never, to our knowledge, cared what "poz social group" someone claim allegiance. HIV causes AIDS if untreated, period. So we welcome everyone infected and affected by HIV/AIDS, but we also take care to stick to our mission of seeking to empower and improve the lives of poz gay men around the world.
SIN chapters are locally managed unless we're looking for a manager
We have no paid staff so each local representation of Strength In Numbers is manned by volunteers who donate their spare time to moderate our message boards and coordinate social events for the group. Some of our chapters may not have an active manager at times, and in those cases managers from other cities will temporarily guide that group until a local manager is found. There are no official boards or committees in the SIN model, as we hope to avoid the political infighting and power struggles that have hampered so many other AIDS related organizations.
SIN is currently working on becoming a 501c3 tax exemption & doesn't (and never will) accept federal/state funding
Too many times we've seen AIDS related groups turn into fundraising machines after they become an operating non-profit, quickly losing focus on their original mission. Once that happens, it seems they dictate to people living with HIV/AIDS rather than work hard to serve the best interests of their clients or ever try to involve their membership in their decision making process. When they take public funding, particularly from the federal government, usually they are saddled with a mass of complex and restrictive requirements including burdensome surveys to fill out at every event they administer. While we understand this sometimes is fundamentally necessary for AIDS service organizations (ASOs) offering expensive programs like housing or healthcare, SIN does not offer direct services and therefore we've sought to put off any need for 501c3 filing as long as possible. Currently we are funded entirely by our own contributions, with most costs for our main operations covered by myself as founder of SIN. We have been in the process of determining how best to approach a filing for 501c3 giving our unique mission and global outreach.
SIN seeks to collaborate and partner with other poz social groups
When I started SIN in Los Angeles, it was like pulling teeth to get any of the ASOs to partner with us or dare to even think of collaborating through us with other agencies. My vision for Strength In Numbers has been to break down the territorial barriers that keep so many ASOs from working with each other. Again, our view is that HIV doesn't care about labels and doesn't see any borders itself, so why shouldn't ASOs work together as much as possible for the greater good. SIN chapters and our international headquarters work with almost every AIDS-related program we encounter, unless we feel that the relationship is not mutually respectful.
SIN focuses on empowering poz guys to have fun, meet each other in a healthy environment & support each other
Despite some misconceptions over the years, we are not some covert HIV-prevention campaign run by the government or some ASO. Our belief is that by helping poz guys live better, happier lives they will take better care of themselves and thereby take better care of their sexual partners. SIN works to reduce the transmission and potential fatality of HIV infections by empowering HIV+ gay men to empower themselves. Our main mission though is to help poz guys meet each other, have fun and become as comfortable and happy as they possible can be.
Strength In Numbers (SIN) started as just a simple potluck party in the Hollywood Hills bringing together 50 or so single poz guys who were tired of rejection at bars or online. That was in September 2002, and now the SIN network reaches over 25,000 men. There are over 50 chapters of SIN social groups around the world (SIN NYC has 1500+ itself), some much more active than others, but we're all working on improving all of them. We also help local poz social groups that do not have the SIN name promote themselves and communicate with other groups like them. And this May we launch our 1st poz cruise retreat on the Carnival Splendor to Mexico (www.sincruise. com).
Learn more about SIN at our main website: www.strengthinnumbers.org
Strength In Numbers: Together we're helping poz guys find their strength within!
Copyright 2009, Strength In Numbers International, Inc.
tdday's sound choice is run dmc with "it's like that"