I was diagnosed with HIV in 1987, when it was a death sentence for most. That time of my life is a blur. I lost so many friends to the disease and was shunned by others. I filed for disability and scaled back my work. My family didn’t accept my sexual orientation and I was too embarrassed to ask them for help.
Eventually, medical treatment became available and I began receiving antiretroviral therapy. But my living situation became unstable. I hadn’t saved any money because I didn’t think I would live very long. I was spending my money on rent and food instead of medication.
My life changed when I found Empath Partners in Care (EPIC). I was able to qualify for a rental voucher, receive items from EPIC’s food and personal needs pantry and receive assistance to pay for my medications. I attend group counseling at EPIC with other HIV+ individuals. EPIC is a blessing to the HIV and AIDS community. I’m grateful for a place like EPIC that helps in so many ways and makes living with HIV and AIDS that much easier. Thanks to the services and support from EPIC, I am engaged in living – as opposed to spending my life preparing to die.