I first heard about Positive Force from my social worker at San Francisco City Clinic, who strongly encouraged me to attend PLUS after my diagnosis in February of 2015.
At first, I wasn’t excited about being surrounded by a bunch of strangers and sharing my inner-most fears. But, based on the trust my social worker and I had established, I took a leap of faith and decided to attend. I figured I had nothing to lose.
It turns out that I had everything to gain. I learned a lot that weekend. I found out information about HIV, AIDS, other sexually transmitted infections and harm reduction strategies. I learned about programs like the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, which can help provide services to low-income and undocumented persons who don’t have sufficient health care or financial resources to treat HIV. I also got information about other things related to my health and wellbeing, like nutrition, dating, substance use and mental health.
I needed this opportunity that PLUS gave me—the opportunity to listen, share my experiences and get advice on things I might not have been able to ask about in other settings.
Importantly, I found my brothers in the group—other gay men from all walks of life who were united by one common goal: how to live with HIV. I bonded with them and made new friendships—friendships I’m sure will be there for years to come. They have continued to support me during this new chapter of my life, and I have realized that, above all else, it’s about knowing you’re not alone.
It’s scary having to leap into the unknown. But I don’t regret attending PLUS. In fact, I keep going back to PLUS to volunteer whenever they are held, because I remember when I was afraid and didn’t know who, or where to turn to for assistance. I want to help others as they go through that, too.
Join the men of Positive Force at one of our upcoming events!