HIV Support in DC
September 7, 2008 2:20 PM   Subscribe

I need support! In February of 2007, I found out that I am HIV+.

In the last year and a half, I've done a lot of 'growing up' in terms of health and education, but I need more help.

I'm a white heterosexual female, and I really feel like I'm all alone out here. There are tons of support groups for homosexuals, there are tons of support groups for minorities, there are tons of support groups for addicts, but where is the support group for heteros?

I currently go to a monthly support group sponsored by my infectious disease doctor, but a) it's just monthly; and b) it's for african-american females -- they made an 'exception' to let me in. :)

I really just need to find more people like me - guys or girls - no matter what the color - that are HIV+. I need a group of people that I see often enough that we can become friends. (I only see my current group 12 times a year, if I make every single meeting, which I sometimes can't do).

The homosexuals really have done this right--being gay and positive is ok. There are tons of support systems, there is a lot of transparency in the dating process, and not nearly as much ignorance and judging.

Why do heterosexuals treat HIV as a dirty secret that should never be shared or talked about with anyone?

I have a therapist, I have great doctors, and I have amazing friends. But, the only person I know and can talk to about HIV who IS HIV+ is my ex, and he's my ex--it's not like he's tearing up the phone lines waiting to talk to me.

My questions:
1) Do you know of any hetero HIV+ support groups in the DC area?
2) Do you have any suggestions on how I can meet real, live (not internet chat rooms) HIV+ people in a safe, trusting environment? (Not everyone knows or needs to know my status, so it's not like I'm about to hang a big "HIV+" sign around my neck and walk around Dupont Circle look for friends....

posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Friends In Deed in NYC sounds like the type of organisation that you want. They may be able to refer you to an appropriate group in DC if you e-mail or call them.
posted by sueinnyc at 2:32 PM on September 7, 2008

You may find this useful.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 2:39 PM on September 7, 2008

Yes! The Whitman-Walker clinic is great people and it's NOT some sort of gay-only thing.

(Also, I assume you're aware that DC residents can get antiretroviral drugs for free, right?)
posted by meta_eli at 4:24 PM on September 7, 2008

The Women's Collective may be another place to try. I echo the WWC recommendation - they generally provide great services.

A couple of other places that might be helpful:
WORLD (Attend one of their retreats if you can swing the travel)
The WELL Project

Support groups and other events organized by community-based groups are probably your best bet for meeting people. Also getting involved in local (or even national) advocacy efforts, if you are ready to do that type of thing. Most of the national advocacy groups are based in DC, and can use volunteers. The National Association of People with AIDS would be an excellent place to start (actually in Silver Spring, not DC). Not everyone who works or volunteers there is positive, but plenty of people are, and it's a good way to hang out with people who are familiar with the challenges, and won't judge.
posted by gingerbeer at 5:08 PM on September 7, 2008

follow-up from the OP
Also, as an update, I've tried both Whitman Walker and the Woman's Collective, and even though they both intend to cater to larger (or non-specific) audiences, their primary audiences are not me and therefore I haven't had much luck going that route.

Throwaway email address:
posted by jessamyn at 6:33 AM on September 8, 2008

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