Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Positive Attitudes � A 12 Step Program For HIV Affected Persons by Reggie Smith

Positive Attitudes – A 12 Step Program For HIV Affected Persons

I have personally benefited from using the principles of this 12-step program for those of us who acknowledge that we are affected by HIV.  I say “those of us who have acknowledged” because most, if not all of us, have been affected by HIV.  Not everyone has come to terms with it, or has identified just how they are affected.  Let’s explore some of the scenarios with which YOU may be included in this demographic first, and then discuss whether this program may right for you.

The program has been called HIV Anonymous for over 10 years, but because the stigma of HIV would not allow many people to get past the idea of being associated with, seen around, or connected to anything with HIV in the name or title, the name of the program is now “Positive Attitudes”.  Many people are affected because they have yet to deal with the trauma of lost loved one’s.  That is especially true for those whose families have been stigmatized to the point of hiding the fact that those loved one’s were HIV+ prior to death.

Of course, if you are sexually active, you are eligible to become a host for HIV.  The mere fact that sexually active people need to navigate the minefield of truth and reconciliation, with self and partners, is reason enough to be involved in a support group.  What I have found is that our individualistic nature is something the HIV retrovirus is counting on in it’s quest to make YOU a host for HIV.  The Positive Attitudes program is an answer to the question, “what is out there for the uninfected person?”.  Where can we all go to discuss the spiritual, emotional and mental issues and behaviors that make us humans such fertile ground for manifesting HIV?

Positive Attitudes is a twelve- step support program adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous. It is a global network that offers unbiased support to people infected with, affected by, or at risk for HIV.  There is a dire need to remove the stigma and face the fears and ignorance surrounding HIV & AIDS. This fellowship is helping to reduce the prejudice and discrimination against HIV-affected individuals.  They are a fellowship of men and women who are committed to a way of life that will help fight the spread of HIV.

Positive Attitudes is a fellowship of persons who have found that living with a potentially terminal illness and/or affected by this illness is a major challenge. They are individuals who meet regularly as a group, assisting one another in this new way of life.  They have no outside affiliations.  Your past is kept in confidence within the group. They don’t thrive on your past, but concentrate on what we want for today and our future.  For many, the realization of their present conditions left them feeling dejected and depressed. They could no longer live life to its fullest. They became disoriented, and their peace of mind was displaced by uncontrollable emotions.

The folks involved in Positive Attitudes support groups are not there to change you. They are not there to segregate or impose a particular belief system upon you. However, if you feel remorse that you have transmitted HIV to another person, or if you are concerned that your behavior could spread HIV, or maybe you just want to fellowship with other people who are living in balance and harmony with HIV and AIDS, then Positive Attitudes is for you.

There are thousands of sources telling you what to do—and what not to do. Some sources claim that HIV causes AIDS and others claim that it does not. The folks at Positive Attitudes avoid getting caught up in scientific contention. We have experienced much suffering. We have seen too many broken hearts and too many people die to take one side in an unresolved scientific debate. They also emphasize Prevention for Positives, which includes prevention challenges specific to people already infected with HIV, such as re-infection with resistant strains of HIV, co-infection with hepatitis, TB, and STD’s, denial of risk, health issues, and psychosocial issues. The choice to take medication for HIV or AIDS is a decision that each individual must make.

If you have seen yourself or a loved one in your minds eye wile reading this information, then your spirit is telling you that you read it for a reason.  Do yourself a favor and start (or continue) listening to your spirit.  Reach out to these folks to let them know they are on the right track as they are working to make this program available for you.  They have a sister site for Hepatitis C with a bulletin board that is very active with treatment experienced people sharing their strength, hope and experience.       Phone: 949-264-4170     HIVAspotw:vo



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