With 50 days left to departure, I have being doing everything I can to prepare myself. When i left my aptartment in Chicago in December, i felt prepared. i had been volunteering at a few clinics, i had my lugage, and everything i thought i needed. my list was so long of “things i needed” i somehow put HIV education low on my list- thinking i had it covered.
While living in Detroit with my sister for the last few months, i was able to find a HIV clinic, AIDS Partnership Michigan. after spending 2 days a week volunteering at the clinic, i can not express how wrong i was with my “preparedness” to answer questions and educate about HIV.
I have completed 3 courses in HIV education and couseling in the last 3 months. I answer the AIDS hotline at the clinic 2x a week. and spend 15 hours a week surrounded by HIV posters, phamlets and people who have been infected. all of this has been helpful, but yesterday, while shadowing a live test and counseling sesion the results came back positive.
It was hard for me to sit in the room for 45mins talking the client through it. it was a monumental moment in the journey i am about to embark on, where 1 and 3 people are HIV positive. it amazes me how much you can learn about a person in a few short minutes while testing, and how the blow can affect you, similarly to ho it affects the client recieving the results. i was thankful i had an amazing counselor in the room, who did such an inspiring job all the way through- i aspire to have half his compassion.
i can say now i feel more prepared for the next to years, but realize now my stomach will need to be a little bit tougher. but most of all, i need to thank the staff at APM for helping me get this far. your help has been priceless!
if anyone is interested in learning more about APM and the services they offer, visit http://www.aidspartnership.org