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Vince Chalwe Rudy Keisuke Michael Derrick

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.

Are you ready to meet other HIV positive guys?

Join the men of Positive Force at one of our upcoming events!

Vince Chalwe Rudy Keisuke Michael Derrick