Heterosexuals and HIV: Where Are the Resources?
Okay, I give up! I have tried and tried to find information on anything to do with heterosexuals and HIV, and folks, there ain't a lot out there. I have found information on heterosexuals in central Africa, heterosexuals in northern California, heterosexuals in Minnesota, blah, blah, blah. I have basically come to the conclusion that outside of Web pages and cruises, it is pretty difficult to find local support groups, workshops, information and social functions for the straight HIV positive world.
The only recent and (in my opinion) relevant statistics I could find about heterosexuals and HIV was in the July 2000 issue of World. It stated that worldwide, over 300 million people (at least one million of them children) are living with HIV/AIDS. The majority of these people were infected through heterosexual sex. I find this interesting because I happen to live in a country that still believes that AIDS is a gay disease and consequently does not provide many opportunities for the straight HIV positive community.
So straight folks hear me out! If you want heterosexual groups, social activities, etc., then you need to start one! It is not as hard as you think. Call a local AIDS service organization and ask them if they let people use agency space for meetings. Then you can start your group or club. Sheri Kaplan, founder of Positive Connections in Miami states, "I started doing social events because I wanted to meet somebody. We didn't have money, or a staff or an office. But it grew, and now we do all these events, and a cruise, for HIV-positive heterosexuals. Now it's about helping other people." Get the idea?
You know, it seems like we get calls all the time about this issue. For example, I took a call the other night and unfortunately could only refer this guy to one agency that does social gatherings in the Atlanta area. I also referred him to Web sites devoted to heterosexuals with HIV. The problem is that when people go to the Web, they find no one from the state they live in, so there is no way to have face-to-face contact with another person locally. The other complaint I have gotten is that the social activity they go to is not attended by people of their same race, religion, shoe size or whatever, so they don't feel comfortable attending. This is what I have come up with for resources. Please feel free to call us if you develop something new in Atlanta and we're sure to tell other people about it!
Center for Positive Connections
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