Coping with Trauma
Kimberly Glanz’s detailed experience as an AIDS patient attempting to access disability benefits in Ohio while struggling with her health.
I have been in counseling for over a year now. At first, I was very skeptical and let’s face it, defensive. No one wants to think they can’t handle the stuff in their lives on their own. I have been taking care of myself in that fashion since I was 14. I moved out at 16, had my first child at 18, the next one at 22, and from then on have been a mother.
Imagine waking up every day not knowing how long you’re going to be alive because you can’t even get a ride to the doctor for treatment. Now, on top of that, you have two children that depend on you.
This is why I force myself to take my meds every day, to hang on to still be here for my kids. They may be adults now, but they still have a place in their lives where I fit in.
How do I get through it all, a man that I thought the world of, a man that took me from the streets and helped me get on my feet with a job, a nice place to live, and practically gave me the world had also given me something that I must deal with for the rest of my life, and now I’m on my way to be Behind Prison Doors?
If I want to be a strong, independent woman then I have to be smart about my health and my body as it affects my life, my partners and even my children. Ultimately, for me, PrEP is about taking back my power. To take back my power and take ownership over my body. With this awareness I want to make positive choices for myself and walk through whatever fear I have.
That damn bicycle has given me a life back when I thought I had none. It’s rejuvenated my creative abilities to record and acknowledge such an incredible, health-rebuilding journey. Spinning my wheels to the tune of 8,880 miles since August, 2015, and I was diagnosed August, 2014.
My name is Christopher Holmes, and I’m a 34 year old Black gay man living with HIV. I’m from Atlanta, Georgia, and now reside in Bronx, NY. I have six brothers and one sister and they all have kids.
After sitting down with my daughter, and educating her about HIV/AIDS (using information from the CDC), she instantly felt relieved, and immediately gave Henry a hug and kiss on the cheek. Things have gotten much better between me, Henry, and the kids now.
I used to think that life without heroin was no life at all. All my time was spent making sure I had money and dope. I wouldn’t go to bed without a wakeup [drugs for the morning]. Now, I can go to the symphony, or a revival of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I can go spend time at the Academy of Science in Golden Gate Park. Those things are really interesting to me, and now I can do them, because I’m sober and living a better life.
Twelve locally and nationally esteemed speakers shared their expertise in their respective fields, presenting on topics including: trauma-informed care for women; disclosure, criminalization and stigma for women living with HIV; reducing anxiety and pain during gynecological exams; and healing rituals and practices for service providers.
The doctor hadn’t expected trans men to enroll, but when I showed up in her office arguing that I, too, was a high-risk gay guy who needed PrEP, she conceded that I was right.
He says that if it weren’t for Facebook, or for him becoming HIV positive, we never would have met, so maybe HIV was a blessing in his life.
Weezy tells her story of addiction, domestic violence, recovery, HIV, love, and pregnancy.
Alejandra Cruz is an amazing fashion designer, hairdresser, & makeup artist who lives in San Francisco with her dog, Chichi. She is originally from Puerto Rico. She is a transgender woman living with HIV.