As we mentioned, nobody should face an HIV diagnosis alone. So, whatever your reservations, make sure you connect with other HIV-positive people. It's a key step towards solving both the emotional and practical problems of living with HIV. Knowing when you need help is vital. An HIV/AIDS organization can be a lifeline. Many such organizations have case managers who can help you move forward on many of your health care issues.
You'll find most, if not 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, go online to www.thebody.com/hotlines.html or call the CDC Health Line at 1-800-232-4636.
For online information for anyone just diagnosed with HIV, visit: www.thebody.com/justdiagnosed.
"One of my friends who was sick told me to go to the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. I knew that I could learn a lot over there ... focus on getting healthy and learning about medications. That's why I'm still there, almost every day. They have different classes. Right now I'm taking a class on HIV medications."
-- Rubén Echeverría Hernández, diagnosed in 2002