Positive Support

I expressed to you all that I have been wanting to start a social support group for HIV-positive men at my place of employment. I used to facilitate one a few years ago at the last organization where I worked at.

I would always look forward to Monday nights from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm when I was able to bring a group of men together to bond and talk about their diagnosis. The organization that I work for is very large and has many locations. I was always under the impression that we already had an HIV-positive support group within our organization, but I learned a few weeks ago that this was not the case.

Creating a support group

Once I heard this news, it sparked another flame in me to continue the group that I use to facilitate many years ago. I was able to team up with another individual who also is a young HIV-positive man to help me co-facilitate the group.

We currently have promotional materials created and have already started promoting them both internally to existing clients as well as externally to partner agencies. We decided to have the social support group on the first and third Tuesday of the month from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm. We had an amazing planning meeting this past week, and both are excited to start this group for our community.

Identifying opportunities for its members

The planning consisted of how we wanted the group to be led and what exactly we would talk about. We thought that the first meeting of the month could be a specific topic discussion, and the last meeting of the month could be an interactive game or activity. Some topics that we talked about were diagnosis and disclosure, relationships and dating, and HIV criminalization laws.

We also wanted a more relaxed group at the end of the month where the attendees could have casual conversations about anything that they wanted, or that was going on in their life now. These types of conversations would happen during our games or activities where we all could get to know one another.

Finding available resources

I am extremely fortunate to be able to have the resources and space to create a group like this. I plan on having the first meeting in 2023 and am hoping that the community is interested. I plan on doing outreach to promote the group as well as to find funding for it. In the long run, I am hoping to be able to find funding to be able to take the individuals in the group on outings and excursions.

Once we get a solid core group of men, I would love to be able to support them in paying for an out-of-state trip to some type of conference on HIV prevention.

I want to provide men like me who are living with HIV a space to get to know other individuals who may be experiencing the same traumas as they are. I want to ensure that they know we are here for one another.

Finding support is an important part of living with HIV. Where did you find support? Share your tips with this community member, and help others in the HIV community.

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