Unbelievable that there are still places on this earth where there is no emotional support for people living with HIV/AIDS … I live in one of those places in the world  …   which amazes me because even parts of Africa that is considered a third world country there are emotional support groups for people living with this disease. And so i have to resort to on-line web-sites for support … I tried the POZ site and was amazed to find that there were less then 15 individuals in puerto rico on that site … Most who had not logged in the last couple of months. I understand why there are only 15 people … this is a small island … with even smaller towns … 

US territory … with millions of federal funds that come to this island every year … and not one support group. It wasn't till recently that I understood what the problem was … I am a flight attendant and it annoys me till no end when people ask me if you need a passport to travel to puerto rico … what part of US Territory do people not understand … I think those two words are self explanatory … but it is this very question that has made me realize why it is we don't have support groups here on this US Territory … it is not because of lack of funding … it is lack of education. Most non-for-profit organization that work with support services or grants don't even think of including puerto rico into these services. So the federal funds coming into this island are being used for medical assistance and compliance … these funds are going to doctors who were forced to become experts in HIV/AIDS because they had patients showing up to thier clinics with the disease … they did a little research, read some medical journals and WHAAAH  LAAAH … they are now experts. All they care about is the physical aspects and have no clue about the mental and emotional complications of this disease.

I truly feel i am stranded on an emotionally deserted  island. The internet has became a powerful resource for people like myself … who have no choice to log on to find some type of connection. 

  1. julia829 12 years ago

     HiV/AIDS is no longer the designer disease it has taken a back seat to breast cancer the red ribbons on the red carpet have been replaced by pink … 

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  2. Romeo 12 years ago

     Unfortunately, it is ultimately ALL of OUR own damn fault. Years ago we were all just happy to be physically alive and doing the best we could. When we went to support groups it didn't matter whether anyone was straight, gay, trans, woman male etc – we just went. Somewhere it seems everything got fractured. It didn't matter if you were HIV+  since you were already counted. Tons of new money went to NMAC (Natl Minority AIDS Council) in the past 5 years because they were the biggest rising percentage even though the actual number of new infections was less than 20% overall. Before that; the big money maker was the over 50 population because they were having unprotected sex, and before that you were guaranteed money if you were an ex IV drug user or had been incarcerated. Gone are the days of support groups and funding to help everyone that is positive. Even now funding is a very tricky thing and there are waiting lists for help everywhere. It seems when we all, as a group of HIV+ people can't stand together in solidarity. Our perception is jaded by mainstream society – many people believe that there is a cure thanks to Magic Johnson or that it is still strictly a "gay" disease. I tried helping after starting and running a 501 (c) (3) that specialized in HIV/AIDS for many years; we had so much trouble getting people OUT OF THEIR HOUSE for groups and events it would drive you nuts. Or to even get them to "sign up" so we could account for them and seek grant funding – many said they would sign up when they needed it…… Well guess what – I had read that 45% of ASO's in the US have changed  to other services or are closed now due to a lack of grants. Respectively, HIV/AIDS funding is at an all time low and it seems that whenever Ryan White comes up for renewal lately it barely passes. One day in the future….very soon I suspect. (Probably in 2014 if the Healthcare Bill stays inacted through then).  There will be NO more funding or very little funding for HIV/AIDS. Especially the perks that many take advantage of like section 8 housing or non HIV medications  being paid for with public money and many people will have to get back out into the workforce. So when it happens I don't want to hear any complaining – especially from all of those out there that do nothing to help the HIV/AIDS community, or even bother to go to their local ASO and sign up so that they can at least get funding. One day it will be needed and there won't be anything out there for those that said they would "do it later". Untill then we should all fly to Puerto Rico and give you a hug! 

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  3. julia829 12 years ago

     I agree that funding is based on numbers… Brian … but i don't think the blame lies solely on us not showing up … I think at the beginning alot of focus went on funding programs to educate and support those afflicted with the disease who with or without support had no choice to but accept their circumstances. Our community got an overload of programs and support which was good and helped us better deal with HIV/AIDS. BUT that funding neglected a couple of things. First it neglected to create leaders… at the start of his epidemic the GAY community united and force the government to reckon with the countless of tragic deaths in their communities … but most of these pioneers from the early day are gone due to this devastating disease … and have not been replaced …  leaders are not born they are created by nurture and education … And instead they gave us a band-aide for our feelings and not the necessary and effective tools for us to go forth as effective leaders…  Second they neglected to educate the population in general … our non-for-profits are filled with people who arrive there because they are infected or affected … because as we all know if you go get an HIV test and are negative it ends there… it is only when you test positive or have a family member who is infected that you invest the time and effort…So we have not come all that far from those early days of discrimination and stigma … As a person living with HIV … I have to tell you… it is on the bottom of my list of priorities. As a single mother who is the lone provider of this family … HIV comes last … not because I want it to … but because I can't afford to put if first on my list of priorities … I have a family to support … I show up every day … i don't get to put my AIDS in a closet and pick it up when it is convenient for me to deal with it. The loss of funding is not so much about us showing up as it more about funding being directed else where like a WAR or WALL-STREET BAILOUTS… When does my government show up… When does mainstream America show up for us…


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  4. Romeo 12 years ago

     Wow! I'm such a lucky bastard! LOL. Te amo mi amor; con toda mi alma y corazon. – B 

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