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No support system and Losing IT!!!!!
Jan 1, 2008

I have been HIV positive now for fifteen years. I have lived in big cities until moving back to Kentucky. Now I find myself "home" with no support. I have been here two years and it is not getting any better. I am retired, have no friends, and my family is limited to three or four "visits" or contacts a year. When I go out, there is a stigma with being older and an HIV patient (per gossip lines). I do not know what to do. When I go to the only HIV support group they do not seem to like me at all. I am LOOSING IT. I can affort to live here on my disability income but I am miserable. Yet, when I lived in California I made to much to receive any financial support and I could not afford it. What do you suggest????? Give up.... stay here.... move again.... or what??????

Response from Dr. Frascino


I imagine moving from California back to Kentucky, being HIV positive, is indeed quite a culture shock. Building a support network without close friends and family nearby can indeed be a challenge in locations where HIV/AIDS ignorance and stigma remain high. It's shameful that 26 years into the AIDS pandemic HIV/AIDS that HIV/AIDS stigma ignorance remain so prevalent. Dubya cutting funding for domestic HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness programs by 20% over recent years certainly hasn't helped the problem.

My advice would be for you to discuss your lack-of-support problem with your HIV specialist. He should be able to advise you of resources locally that may help. I would also suggest you check with local and regional AIDS service organizations. Just Google AIDS service organizations and the name of your closest city or town. A list should pop up. They may well be able to advise you of other services and support groups that might be available to you.

You are not alone in feeling unsupported while trying to cope with HIV/AIDS. (See below.) Hopefully 2008 will bring enlightenment and compassion to those who are misinformed about HIV/AIDS.

Good luck. I'm here if you need me.

Dr. Bob

Lacking Support Dec 21, 2007

I have been positive for 7 yrs. I know when I was infected and tested soon after. I have adult daughters and parents who live miles away. I am 55, a straight woman. My daughters literally yelled at me when I told them I was positive-I'm sure it was because they don't want to lose their mom. The rest of my family mom told me to get over myself because it is not a death sentence anymore. My friends are sympathetic if I bring it up. My family does want to hear anything about it. I live in a small town. I am also a recovering addict/alcoholic who attends a 12 step group. Those that know there seem to avoid any personal contact with me-not speaking of dating-which is nil but they seem to be uneducated and keep a distance. We have an Aids clinic in the next town over but for reasons that involves too much time and energy and too long a story (involving a predator and charges brought against him which resulted in his probation and distance parameters) I am unable to attend the support group there.

I have found little to no support online as far as emotional support.

I am disabled due to other reasons and I am Bi-polar as well...low name it.

I would like very much to gain a support system. I am at a loss as to how to get that. Reminding you that I live in a small town in the deep south, with deep southern stigma etc. I have found nothing that could help me with the daily living with this disease as far as emotional support. I am not on any meds yet...which is amazing! But I need people.

Thank you for any ideas and support you can offer!

Sincerely, A lonely older woman.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Lonely Older Woman,

HIV-positive, recovering addict/alcoholic, bipolar, "disabled due to other reasons," and you live in the Deep South with deep southern stigma??? Hmm . . . somehow I'm not surprised you are finding it difficult to find emotional support! Since I don't know where you are writing from, the best I can do is offer general advice. First check with your HIV/AIDS specialist physician. He or she should be aware of the various resources available in your area that might be of help. Second, try calling the AIDS service organizations in your area. Just Google "AIDS service organizations" and the name of your nearest cities or towns. A list should pop up. Try calling them and asking what services are available in your area. If all else fails, have you considered relocating to a more enlightened and compassionate environment?

Good luck.

Dr. Bob

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