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Reged: 06/18/09
Posts: 302
Loc: Georgia
Re: HIV Support Group in Greensboro
      11/03/13 06:58 PM

From someone who has had an HIV support group for more than a couple weeks -

It's GREAT that you're going to try to get one going. Don't be discouraged by a lack of participation either from people not wanting to attend (Can't have anyone seeing ME go to THAT type of meeting!) to having those who do attend basically just want to sit there. They know deep down that going is good, but they still aren't as comfortable with the fact that they're HIV+ as you are.

BIG HINT - Dumb it down!!! One of the most common comments I get is that people can't understand what I'm trying to tell them. You can be reading verbatim from a news article/website that has excellent information, but if people don't understand you might as well be speaking Chinese telling them how to make an omelet. You're more versed in the information. You've been studying it. But, some of those people who you hope to get to the meeting are going to be fairly new to the field and not understand things the way you do.

When it's just you and the group be sure to let them know that they can ask all the questions they want. Stop and answer them immediately. It'll probably turn the discussion into new directions, but the group will be talking about what it wants to know. Never be ashamed to admit you don't know something. Take notes and try to find out for the next meeting. Someone else will want to know the same thing. And, I am the person who can't pronounce the names of the new medications. (Who thinks them up?) I struggle through and laugh about it. People either laugh with me or sit there in silence, because they're learning.

HIV is still spread primarily through sexual contact. Be sure to let the people attending know there may be adult themes. Don't be afraid to call a goose a goose. It'll amaze you what you take for granted as general knowledge that some of your older clients don't know.

Ask around. I've found that every community has someone who is well versed in showing a crowd how to use a condom. Have them there one day for a demonstration. ON A BANANA!!! Give everyone condoms. Many people know they need them, but thanks to "societal norms" many people are still embarrassed to ask for them. Or, to ask for them from someone of the opposite sex. You can probably get them from your local HIV clinic. Have them there for people at every meeting, so they don't have to go out of their way to get them.

Please write again when the meetings start to let us know how things are going.

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Entire thread
Subject Posted by Posted on
* HIV Support Group in Greensboro osomenor 11/01/13 02:19 PM
. * Re: HIV Support Group in Greensboro iam1   11/03/13 06:58 PM
. * Re: HIV Support Group in Greensboro riverprincessModerator   11/01/13 10:47 PM
. * Re: HIV Support Group in Greensboro anotherday   11/11/13 05:57 PM

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