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The Telephone Helpline: 1-800-566-6599

December 2000

What Are Support Groups?

Body Positive support groups are designed for people who are infected or affected by HIV/AIDS to have a place to go and people to talk to about various issues. The program is built to provide emotional support, information, and camaraderie for people. While there is a suggested donation of up to five dollars per session, there is no required fee and no one is ever turned away for reasons of cost. We maintain strict confidentiality with all of our programs, and ask that all support group participants do the same.


How Do Support Groups Work?

There are two kinds of Body Positive support groups: drop-in and enrolled.

Drop-in groups meet weekly (there is a schedule published in this magazine every month!) for 90 minutes to 2 hours. Anyone can come to a drop-in group. You do not have to disclose any information. Enrolled groups also meet weekly for an hour and a half. But there are a few differences.

Drop-in groups: -- meet weekly -- are ongoing -- involve no commitment -- are open groups, so you can just drop by whenever you feel like it without making an appointment and -- have topics that may repeat.

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Enrolled groups: -- meet weekly -- run for 12 meetings over 12 weeks -- involve closed groups, so only people who have signed up in advance will attend -- require an intake, so you will be invited to join a particular group and -- have topics that may be more structured.


Who Are Support Groups For?

Body Positive support groups are for anyone who is infected or affected by HIV/AIDS and would like support or someone to talk to. Some of the people who attend our groups are people with HIV/AIDS, friends, partners, and caregivers. Most groups take place in downtown Manhattan but groups are organized based on participant preference. Support groups are often helpful for people who are dealing with HIV/AIDS-related issues. Sometimes, people do better with a more clinical group, or with one-on-one counseling. We can help you determine whether a Body Positive support group or some other type of help would be the best option for you.


What Specific Issues Do Support Groups Cover?

Support groups may cover a variety of issues. Currently, we have 6 drop-in groups running (see below).

Some of our enrolled groups have included HIV+ Couples, HIV+ Gay Men, HIV+ Women, HIV+ Long-Term Survivors, and HIV+ Newly Diagnosed Individuals. We tailor our enrolled groups to the interests and needs of our participants.


Who Are the Support Group Facilitators?

Our support groups run on a peer-based model. All Body Positive support groups are facilitated by a caring group of volunteers and staff members who have been trained in facilitation skills and in HIV/AIDS issues. While our facilitators are well trained and supervised, they usually are not mental health professionals. Our support group facilitators come from all over the city and from the surrounding areas as well. They are men and women of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds.


How Do I Get Involved?

If you are interested in a drop-in group:
  • Drop in! You do not need to call in advance or register. Simply show up at the group that interests you.

  • Once you have attended a group (or a few) you may decide that you want to continue, you may want to switch to an enrolled group, or you may choose another type of support in your life.

  • Please note that it is important that you commit to arriving on time.

If you are interested in an enrolled group:

  • You will need to sign up in advance. You can do this by calling Body Positive at 1-800-566-6599 and having a brief intake done. You will be asked your name, date of birth, and related information. You do not have to answer any questions if you do not want to. You will be asked what type of group you are looking for and you will be placed on a list.

  • Once a suitable group is ready to begin, someone will call you to invite you to the group. If you cannot attend a particular group, you will not lose your turn. You can stay on the list until you find a match.

  • Once you agree to attend a group, one of the facilitators will call you to introduce him or herself, make sure you are familiar with the date and time of the first meeting, and answer any questions you may have.

  • You are on your way!

If you have questions or would like more information, you can call the Body Positive Helpline at 1-800-566-6599. The line is open Monday to Friday, 10 am to 6 pm. This is a free call.

If you are interested in volunteering as a support group facilitator, or would like more information, and you are located in the New York City area, please call us at (212) 566-7333.

Dana S. Levin, M.A. is Director of Volunteer and Client Support Services at Body Positive.


Body Positive Drop-In Support Groups

Body Positive's drop-in support groups are designed to introduce you to us and the supportive services we offer. They are a great place for people who are newly diagnosed or inexperienced with support groups to talk and listen to others who are going through similar experiences, to learn that they are not alone.

Preregistration is not required for drop-in groups. Enrolled groups meet for twelve weeks in closed sessions, and you must register for the series ahead of time.

Information about enrolled groups is available at drop-in meetings or by calling Support Services at Body Positive at (212) 566-7333. For referrals to other support groups, call the Body Positive Helpline at (800) 566-6599.

There is no fee for drop-in or enrolled groups. A voluntary donation of $5.00, however, will help defray Body Positive's expenses.


TUESDAY

HIV+ and HIV Affected
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Lower East Side Family Union
84 Stanton Street, Second Floor (Enter on Allen)
F to Second Avenue; M15 to Houston Street


WEDNESDAY

HIV+ and HIV Affected -- Bilingual (Spanish/English)
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Lower East Side Family Union
84 Stanton Street, Second Floor (Enter on Allen)
F to Second Avenue; M15 to Houston Street

HIV+ Women In Recovery
5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Women In Crisis
360 West 125th Street, Suite 11 (St. Nicholas Avenue)
A, B, C, D to 125th Street


THURSDAY

HIV+ Women and Men In Recovery
5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Women In Crisis
360 West 125th Street, Suite 11 (St. Nicholas Avenue)
A, B, C, D to 125th Street

HIV+ and Affected Gay Men
6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center
One Little West Twelfth Street (corner Hudson)
A, C, E, F, 1, 2, 3, 9 to Fourteenth Street


FRIDAY

HIV+ Young Gay Men (ages 18 - 30)
6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center
One Little West Twelfth Street (corner Hudson)
A, C, E, F, 1, 2, 3, 9 to Fourteenth Street

(Support Groups will not be held on major holidays)


Back to the December 2000 issue of Body Positive magazine.


  
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This article was provided by Body Positive. It is a part of the publication Body Positive.
 
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