Hi, my name is Mae and I am a Treatment Advocate at Women Alive. You may have read my first article in our last newsletter. As I stated previously, I am new in the field of HIV services but I have been infected since 1992. At Women Alive we network with a variety of service providers in some form or another almost on a daily basis. I am continuously amazed at the barrage of services that are available to us (HIV+ persons) that I hadn't known about before. My point being that people cannot access services they don't know about.
For those of you who didn't know, a lot of services exist mainly because of clinical trials. Those were in the days before services existed. People with AIDS enrolled in clinical trials to try to get good health care and access to medications, because there were no approved medications to treat HIV/AIDS. Medications were provided to those who probably otherwise couldn't have afforded them. Those people met other people with similar issues and concerns which led to forming support groups based on the common bond of having a deadly disease. What followed was the development of a comprehensive AIDS service delivery system and that basically includes everything else that we are fortunate enough to have available to us today.
A large part of what we do as Treatment Advocates here at Women Alive is give appropriate referrals to those in need. We can give you a name, an agency, a phone number, and sometimes (depending on budget restrictions) a ride. If by chance we don't have the information you need we will try our best to connect you with someone else who can point you in the right direction.
Its all about networking and sharing information. A lot of these services may not have been available when I first got infected but now that they are I personally intend to utilize them to the fullest. I would advise you to do the same. After all, the services exist because of us, for us.
At the end of this article I will put a list of the types of services that are available to people living with HIV disease and AIDS.
We understand that women who do not live in Los Angeles or other metropolitan areas may not have access to all of these resources.
You can utilize our Hot Line for support, questions about medications, advice concerning dating and disclosure and for referrals to services in your local area, regardless of what part of the country you are calling from.
Remember, we are just like you. Whatever you are dealing with, between all of us here, we have probably dealt with it. We bring a variety of life experiences with us, and now we are dealing with HIV infection in our lives as well. We understand what you are going through and we want you to know that you don't have to do it alone.
Here is just a small sample of the types of services available to us.
To access services in Los Angeles and/or your local area please call our National Toll-free HotLine at 1.800.554.4876