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Help me create a counselling group for +youngsters, a service in the community (Marcel N., psychologist, HIV +)

Aug 6, 2003

from Marcel N-Romania. Dear Sir, i'm thrilled to find such a complex site to rise all kind of problems the hivers have to deal with. This is again a prove that your country realy try to controle and to help patients to become effective and deal with their status (anxiety, deppression, lonlyness, etc). I would be gratefull if you would help me increase my knowledge about how to provide psychological counselling for hivers and their families mainly for youngsters. Apparently these lately days an increase numbers of dolescents and young people become infected in different in different ways and, as you allready know, is very hard for them and families to cope with the + diagnosis and , as a very well known physycian says, it is a risk to lose the pacient in the very first moment of announce because of the shock and it might never came back. Let me present myself. My name is Marcel N.,31 y.old, i'm psychologist and I'm living in Romania, my mother country. I was diagnosos 8 month ago and according to lates analysys my doctor decide to keep me away of treatment (cd4 780, and viral load still ok(?). I do have to cope with the same change of horizont and self-esteem issues, anxiety and other normal stages of coping with the disease. I am gay and I have a stable relationship with a man that I love very much who is scared for me (and I think for himself as well).As you maybee know Romania is a former comunist country and in the late 14 years it try to make efforts to become a democracy and liberal country. BUt it is very hard:poverty, lack of information, bad mentalities. The hivers are very discriminated, there are a huge range of cases of eliminated youngsters or people just fired people once they become aware of the one who has HIV, children are kept at home because the parents of healthy children as well as teachers do not accept a + child in the school community. To be outlaw it is terible and you can imagine frustration and difficulty of those who are +tested to cope with the new situation. Fortunately, the doctors are realy willing to help the patient in the first moment and after that it depends of the family and friends to keep the secret and to help you overpass the chrisis and stay in balance. SO, as a traditional culture, it is still a tabu and very hard to be tolerated as gay, HIV and in this very moment, even is it is obvoius that I still denied my diagnosis I want tot work on miself and to become able to provide pre and post-testing counseling for young people and their families. A week ago, UNICEF says that some stackeholders will aprove HIV humanitarian and professional grants-applications to be financed for HIV children and young people. I work in humanitarian ngo sonce 1994 and imediately thought that a group therapy for HIV youth and for their parents will help a little their quality of life be gathering people with the smae problem and to help them find the balance. Ignorance is terible for both normal as well as + people. It is not easy to lead a conselling group for HIV mainly when is about youngsters but if you could help me to create this service the hole romanian + community in Bucharest and the doctors as well will be happy to complete the network with a very needed counselling and therapy approach to met this people needs. Let me know if you can advise me how to implement this group and service and positive experience, ways to better the approach, case studies, etc, if you can send me materials, articles or just give me web sites and adresses. IN romania this field is still tabu, virgin and there are not many people willing to approach it. It is going to take years until mentalities will change and people will become aware of the psychological problems related to this diseases. In romania we do need help and i need help, I worry because I don't know how am I going to be elligible to carry out this kind of activity, Psy support for HIV youngsters while I hiv + too. Thank you very very much for your existence and hoping that our colaboration will be fruitfull I look forward hearing from you in short time. Marcel, 31 (Romania) PS: sorry for my enghlish

Response from Mr. Shernoff

Dear MArcel,

I really respect the work you are doing in Romania. Unfortunately in terms of your request, I have never worked with young people. My specialty is working with adults. So I am am sorry to say that I have no idea of how to advise you or even of who to suggest you contact. I will try to find appropriate resources and forward them to you, but am not sure of whether or not I will be successful.

I am truly sorry that I am unable to be of help to you.

Michael Shernoff, MSW

How to help someone HIV negative.
depression/now what?

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