Caring for people with HIV is my passion

In honor of National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, we asked a few women at San Francisco AIDS Foundation to share why they’re passionate about serving women clients—and everyone—living with HIV.

Here’s what they had to say.

Interview transcript:

Naomi Prochovnick, case manager and navigator: I’ve been working in HIV in the Bay Area for a long time—for over 30 years.

Ashely Fargeon, lobby services manager: I’ve been working in residential treatment within San Francisco for about 12 years.

Brenda Lopez, facilities coordinator: I’ve been with the foundation for 21 years.

Irene Snyder, case manager: I’ve been doing social work since about the early 2000s.

Ellen Novogrodsky, benefits counselor: I’ve been working at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation for 13 years.

Why do you work in this field?

Irene: I came out in the late 90s. As a member of the queer community, I had friends and chosen family who were impacted by HIV.

Ashley: I got inspired I got inspired to work with marginalized populations in San Francisco, initially I began working in residential treatment.

Naomi: I started because, as a lesbian, I was taking care of my community.

What’s important about the work you do?

Irene: There is still a lot of stigma for folks who are positive and the communities it is directly impacted by. Anything I can do to make things a little better, or to be a resource, it feels really good.

Ellen: Even today, people are still struggling to get access to medications and medical care. And even though there are new systems and programs, they are very complicated. There’s a need now more than ever for people to access care and medication.

Brenda: It’s always something different. The foundation is always trying to see how can we make it better. Who can we include? Who else can we open our doors to?

Ashley: My ultimate goal is to ensure that everyone who walks into the space feels like they are coming into a space that is safe, that is inclusive, that is respectful, and warm.

What’s rewarding about the work you do?

Irene: I really value the relationships that I am able to build and sustain.

Brenda: You’re always learning something different—that’s the gratifying thing about it.

Ashley: Working alongside folks to help them realize their own personal goals.

Naomi: It’s about building and maintaining relationships. I sometimes will run into a client I haven’t seen in over ten years, and we remember each other. And feel that connection that comes from getting to know one another.



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