ASO’s can answer basic questions and hook you up with local, HIV-experienced doctors, therapists, support groups—as well as everything from hot meals to vital government services. You can call an ASO’s hotline, drop into a treatment information forum or get on an ASO’s newsletter mailing list.
Here are some other resources to consult while ramping up on your HIV knowledge, wrestling with your newbie questions and finding friends:
“My family’s great, but they’re not ever going to fully understand everything that I am going through. Talking to other people who are positive…wow there’s someone else who’s going through the same thing. I’m not alone.” —Jessica Whitney, Hagerstown, MD, Diagnosed: 2003
TREATMENT AND SERVICES
AIDS.gov HIV/AIDS information from the Federal government about prevention, testing, treatment, research, programs, policies and resources.
AIDSmap.com Treatment info from HIVers across the pond, this UK-based site offers in-depth and cutting-edge treatment news, with a strong emphasis on global issues, too.
AIDSmeds.com A clearly written, user-friendly guide to the basics of HIV science and treatment. Online discussions, too.
AIDS Treatment News 800.TREAT-1-2 A classic source of treatment information, with a bracing mix of activism and community news from the master himself, John S James.
Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) 212.367.1000 New York's GMHC is the oldest ASO in the USA, and no, they don't only deal with gay men. GMHC’s “Treatment News” is very useful.
AIDS InfoNet This bilingual, fact-filled site from New Mexico features veteran HIVer activist Bob Munk's essential "Living With HIV."
POZ.com Well, you're here, so we don't need to give you the URL! One way to find out more about a particular topic is to search back issues of POZ magazine (in print since 1994!). And consider joining POZ Mentor and POZ Personals if you haven’t already. You can order POZ publications by calling 800.973.2376.
Project Inform 800.822.7422 Marty Delaney's San Fran powerhouse for treatment and activism issues, plus a great “Introductory Packet” for the newly diagnosed.
“It came at a time I was considering leaving my job and taking a job that doesn’t provide insurance. The insurance aspect is now limiting my choices. I’m stuck staying in corporate America whether I like it or not.” —Bobby Z., Chicago, Diagnosed: 2005
The Access Project 212.260.8868 The Access Project is a fantastic clearing-house of info on the three programs that cough up pills for no cost to the patient: Patient Assistance Programs Pharmaceutical companies going that extra mile to get meds to HIVers without public or private insurance. AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPS) Underinsured or uninsured? You may be eligible for state-paid meds. Get 'em while funding lasts. A waiting list exists in some states. Expanded Early Access Programs In case you ever need a new treatment option. Most companies offer early access to promising drugs prior to FDA approval. But restrictions may apply. And you may be taking a drug whose long-term safety isn’t guaranteed.
Campaign to End AIDS (C2EA) 877-EndAIDS (1.877.363.2437) This coalition of AIDS activists and ASOs has a 21 point-plan to end AIDS. Spearheaded by the New York-based Housing Works, C2EA is sponsor of the October 2005 March to End AIDS.
National Association of People With AIDS (NAPWA) 204.247.0880 An organization of HIVers doin' it for themselves since 1983, NAPWA offers how-to programs in community and youth leadership, managed care, public policy and more. They organize National HIV Testing Day.
ACLU AIDS Project 212.549.2627 This subdivision of the American Civil Liberties Union brings lawsuits and lobbies elected officials to protect the civil liberties of HIVers.
The Center for HIV Law and Policy 212.564.4738 A legal and policy resource bank that addresses HIV discrimination and the legal needs of those living with the virus.
POZ Personals Over 60,000 online members seeking love and companionship. Registration is free.
“I’ve told guys and they say, ‘Oh, I’ll be back in a minute’ and just up and left. You never know a person’s story. You don’t know how accepting they may be. You just have to take your time getting to know somebody. It’s harder for us.” —Jessica Whitney, Hagerstown, MD, Diagnosed: 2003
FOR IV DRUG USERS
Harm Reduction Coalition 212.213.6376 or 510.444.6969 The national clearinghouse on harm reduction does straight-up advocacy and education for syringe-users.
AIDS In Prison Project 718.378.7022 (call collect Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, 3-8pm EST) A national hotline that answers all questions pertaining to incarcerated HIVers.
Fortune Society 212.691.7554 Positive prisoners contact the LifeWork Program for peer support, access to services and prevention info.
FOR PEOPLE OF COLOR
Black AIDS Institute 213.353.3610 This national policy center mobilizes black organizations and issues policy papers on HIV among African-Americans.
Latino Commission on AIDS 212-675-3288 An organization of HIV health care and education advocates focusing on issues in the Latino community.
National Minority AIDS Council 202.483.6622 This DC stalwart serves up everything from scholarships and conferences to job-search tips and community-building training.
The Well Project 434.293.2955 Information and resources specifically for HIV positive women.
Women Alive 800.554.4876 Covers the waterfront of education, inspiration and support for women with HIV.
HIV Wisdom for Older Women 913.722.3100 Provides support for older women living with HIV and fights the misperception that they don’t get the virus. Jane Fowler presides.
National Association on HIV Over Fifty 617-233-7107 A membership organization that fights ageism in the HIV community and the shortage of HIV services for seniors. NAHOF also seeks to educate older adults about the risk of getting HIV.
“I knew a lot about AIDS before. I used to be in a youth program and was a peer educator. It made it so much easier. I didn’t feel it was the end. I knew the last thing I needed to do was panic.” —Andres Huertas, Bronx, NY, Diagnosed: 2005
Advocates for Youth 202.419.3420 This site offers a directory of HIV youth groups and peer educators to answer your questions by e-mail and offer straight talk about HIV, STDs, safer sex and clinical trials. Also check out this list of teen-friendly clinics around the country.