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Together We Are Making A Difference

Summer '95

Today my life has changed. Everything I thought I knew, was transformed before my very eyes. I thought I knew what life meant for me, what I wanted, what I wished for. Those things remain, but a much larger, much more compassionate part of me has opened up.

It was painful and exhilarating in the same instant. I was angry because I realized I had been lied to. I had been deceived by my government, by the media. Until I came to Being Alive for a women's social, I hadn't known that to be HIV+ was to have AIDS. I thought it was treatable, that AIDS was avoidable. I thought there was a strong chance that most everyone with HIV would survive without ever suffering from AIDS. I was wrong.

You can help in the fight against AIDS! You can make a difference!

At the women's social, I met women who had all been diagnosed as HIV+. When the truth dawned on me that most of these women would develop symptoms of AIDS and then eventually die, my heart broke. They spoke to me of their fears, their hopes, their strong desire to fight and to face this thing that has invaded their existence in such a forceful and terrifying way. Mostly, they expressed their need to know that they were not alone. That they were lovable and would not be alienated with this horrible disease.

With their words in my heart, I realized that I had vowed to be there for them, and for myself. I would not let them down. I found that this feeling was a common denominator among all of the employees and volunteers at Being Alive. I'd found a place that incorporated people of vastly different walks of life who had come together by virtue of honesty and integrity, who all shared a common sense of the value of life. I found a home.

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Being Alive and Women Alive don't require anyone to fill out extensive paperwork and wait on a list for assistance. If you are HIV+, you are welcome simply by walking in the door. Being Alive has a large research library with reference materials on medications, symptoms, other care facilities, and more. Women and men with HIV or AIDS can come to research and learn about the disease and what they can do for themselves in their fight to live a life of high quality and good health. Women Alive is developing a similar library at it's Culver City location. The staff and volunteers are warm and caring, willing to answer questions and give hugs whenever they are needed. On the second Sunday of each month, Women Alive holds a women's social and barbecue, for new and continuing members to gather, to talk, and to be in the care of their friends and each other. It is a time for women to be with other women to cope with and to try to understand together what is impossible to cope with and to understand alone.

In my small view of the world, I was the center. I thought that what I wanted and needed was all that existed. There are things much grander than myself in this life. Things I cannot control, but may possibly make better. I can make changes in the lives of others. We all can and we all should at least make the effort to try.

I encourage everyone to take a look at what is publicized about HIV and AIDS and think about it. Millions of people in the United States alone are infected. There is still no cure.

You can help in the fight against AIDS. You can make a difference. Even the smallest donation or fewest hours of volunteer work make an important impact on the lives of people living with AIDS. Every effort is greatly needed and appreciated.


For further information on volunteer opportunities, or on the benefits of membership, please contact: Nancy MacNeil or Beverly Mosely (310) 313-5139 between 11:00 am and 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday.




  
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This article was provided by Women Alive. It is a part of the publication Women Alive Newsletter.
 

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