Body Positive FAQs
What Do We Do?
The integration of PWAC's services into BP's program has meant the elimination of some overlap and duplication, and the modification of some programs to serve the needs of both agencies' constituencies. In addition, some BP services may be unfamiliar to former PWAC clients, and some of the PWAC services that are coming over may be new to BP veterans. Here's a roadmap:
Drop-In Groups: Designed to introduce newcomers to BP and our supportive services, these groups require no pre-registration. A calendar of current drop-in groups, including meeting times and places and those at whom they are aimed, is published each month in Body Positive. There are usually four to twelve people in a group, and participants may attend for up to eight sessions, after which they have the option of joining an enrolled group.
Enrolled Groups: Preregistration is required for enrolled groups, which meet for twelve weeks in closed sessions. Populations served are similar to those of the drop-in groups, and change according to need. Groups meet at various places throughout Manhattan, and typically have ten to twelve participants. To sign up or get information, call (212) 566-7333.
Women's Groups: Through specifically tailored support groups, HIV-positive women develop support networks to get information and to help each other with the ongoing challenge of life with HIV. WIC Groups are support groups that meet at WIC (Women, Infants & Children, a nutrition program) Centers and include information about mandatory newborn testing. To sign up or get information, call (212) 566-7333.
BP's calendar of support groups is fluid and responsive to the changing needs of HIV-infected and -affected individuals. Call (212) 566-7333 to suggest a new population or geographical area that you believe could benefit from the formation of a BP support group.
Peer Education: Body Positive's peer-run groups, which have strong information and education components, are aimed at specific at-risk populations -- men who have sex with men, intravenous drug users, ex-offenders -- and are held in various locations in Staten Island, East Harlem, and parts of Brooklyn, the Bronx, and upper Manhattan. Our peer-run education program also goes into prisons, schools, women's centers, shelters, and SROs.
Conferences and Workshops: Designed to increase the knowledge base of the peer-run education program, our conferences and workshops offer more formal training on specific HIV-related topics. Also, once a year BP sponsors a conference that brings healthcare and/or service providers together with consumers around an important HIV-related topic.
Body Positive, our monthly English-language magazine, publishes informational articles on HIV-related topics and on general topics from an HIV point of view. It provides readers with up-to-date general medical information, profiles individuals who are living with the virus in positive ways, and offers an editorial forum where infected and affected individuals may share their views.
SIDAahora is the agency's Spanish-language magazine. It is published bimonthly and covers issues of particular interest to or from the perspective of the Spanish-speaking community, with an emphasis on treatment information.
Body Positive's Resource Directory lists services for HIV-positive and -affected people, in English and Spanish by category, and is published twice a year.
Positive Options offers information for the newly diagnosed on a variety of topics, such as disclosure, confidentiality laws, sex, and benefits. A Spanish-language edition is planned.
¿Decir o No Decir? addresses the many issues related to disclosing one's HIV status.
Helpline: Operating Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., the Body Positive Helpline is staffed entirely by HIV-positive volunteers, with a pharmacist available to answer questions about medications once a week.
Benefits Counseling Program: A volunteer counselor is available three days a week to help people negotiate their way through entitlements programs. See story.
Prison Pen Pals Program: Volunteer correspondents are matched with incarcerated PWAs. See story.
Social Events: Body Positive hosts nonalcoholic heterosexual socials once a month. Periodic gay socials are cosponsored with Date Bait. Both specialized and all-inclusive river cruises on the Circle Line are offered during the summer.
Who Does What?
As the staff and volunteers of Body Positive and the People With AIDS Coalition join forces, you might not be sure which staff member or volunteer to talk to to get what information or service. Here's the new breakdown:
Scott Cotenoff, Executive Director. Where the buck stops. Scott has overall responsibility for all operations and services of Body Positive and serves as the agency's spokesperson.
Rich Brigandi, Director of Finance and Administration. The nuts and bolts of BP are Rich's responsibility. He manages our grants, handles the budget, pays the bills, and takes care of personnel and operations matters.
Brandy Logan, Administrative Assistant. Besides meeting and greeting, at the front desk or on the phone, Brandy takes care of the mail and performs such office managerial tasks as maintaining our supply inventory.
Carmen Navarro and Rachel Sacks, Co-Directors of Community Outreach and Education. Carmen oversees the peer education program, for which Rachel develops curricula. Carmen is in charge of Body Positive's women's programs, and she oversees the Prison Pen Pals Project and the monthly heterosexual socials. Rachel organizes and runs the agency's annual conference and other smaller conferences throughout the year.
Stacie Bethea and David Gonzalez, Outreach Coordinators. David and Stacie conduct workshops, lead groups, and supervise the peer educators in their outreach and education activities.
Laura Engle, Editor, Body Positive. Laura has primary responsibility for planning, editing, and production of Body Positive's monthly English-language magazine.
Luis López Detrés, Editor, SIDAahora. Luis performs the same editorial tasks for the agency's bimonthly Spanish-language magazine.
Cheryl Whittier, Managing Editor, Resource Directory. Cheryl compiles and maintains Body Positive's list of services and other resources for people with HIV and AIDS and produces the semiannual Resource Directory.
Steven Weininger, Art Director. The man who gives our publications their overall look, Steven is responsible for design and layout, and oversees the work of photographers and illustrators.
Phil Grigioni, Subscription Manager. Phil maintains the subscription lists for the magazines and organizes their bulk distribution.
Tom Cozart, Director of Volunteer Programs. Besides recruiting, assigning, and supervising Body Positive volunteers, Tom organizes and schedules support groups, and manages the agency's website.
Scott A. Crafts, Helpline Coordinator. Scott schedules the Helpline volunteers and makes sure they have the tools and information they need to be of maximum assistance to callers.
Marty Kraushar, Benefits Counselor. Three days a week, Marty helps people with HIV and AIDS find out about and obtain the benefits for which they are eligible.
Body Positive plans to add two new staff members soon: a Deputy Executive Director who will supervise all of the agency's program efforts, and a Treatment Education Coordinator, who will organize forums on treatment issues and gather and disseminate information on treatments, medications, and adherence issues.
BP Mission Statement
Body Positive is the largest peer-based AIDS service organization in New York solely dedicated to empowering people who are living with and affected by HIV and AIDS. Founded in 1987, Body Positive provides peer-led services and reliable, unbiased, accessible information designed to help people make informed choices. Body Positive's board, staff, volunteers and consumers are diverse in culture, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and serostatus.
This article was provided by Body Positive. It is a part of the publication Body Positive.