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HIV/AIDS Resource Center for African Americans
Kai Chandler Lois Crenshaw Gary Paul Wright Fortunata Kasege Keith Green Lois Bates Greg Braxton Vanessa Austin Bernard Jackson

HIV & Me: A Guide to Living With HIV for African Americans
Step 2: Getting Connected to Support
Marcya Owens

"Being diagnosed HIV positive is not the end of the world. It's the beginning of a brand-new world.

"There'll be good days and bad. But it's nothing you can't handle, because if you've gotten through your life so far, you've had those bad days already. All you have to do is dig back there, find the strength to meet the bad days and celebrate the good days."

-- Marcya Owens, diagnosed in 1994

To read more about Marcya, click here.

No matter how strong you might be, an HIV diagnosis is something that nobody should face alone. Make sure you connect with a community of HIV-positive people. It's one of the best steps you can take to begin to solve both the emotional and practical problems of living with HIV.

Chicago native Greg Braxton is the perfect example of someone who successfully reached out and got the services he needed. An alcoholic and a crack cocaine addict for 27 years, when he left drug treatment for the last time more than 10 years ago, he knew he needed to stay away from his old neighborhood. He found a place that offered day programs for people with HIV and he applied for supportive housing. He said it was a critical stepping-stone. "I doubt if I would have made it, if I had gone straight to independent living, because I wouldn't have any support or any restraints. And I probably would have relapsed."


Knowing when you need help is vital. An HIV/AIDS organization can be a lifeline. Many organizations have case managers who can help you move forward on many of your health care issues. You'll find most or all of the following at HIV/AIDS organizations:

  • HIV support groups
  • Mental health and substance abuse counseling
  • Case managers who can connect you to government aid you may need, such as Medicaid, disability insurance or medication assistance
  • Expert information on HIV and nutrition, fitness and other issues
  • HIV treatment information and adherence workshops to help with taking HIV medications
  • HIV prevention counseling, safer sex workshops and free condoms

Most big cities have several HIV/AIDS organizations geared to meet the needs of different populations.

For help in finding a local organization, click here or call CDC-INFO at 1-800-232-4636.

More From This Resource Center

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Living With HIV? African Americans Share Their Advice

This article was provided by TheBody. It is a part of the publication HIV and Me: An African American's Guide to Living With HIV.

See Also
African-American HIV/AIDS Resource Center


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