Nice to meet you, we are Plus!
It’s undeniable that HIV is a virus and that the infection must be fought through pharmacological treatment and frequent hospital controls.
However, not everything in the fight against HIV can be referred to medicalization. Prevention, for instance: a doctor can explain what the research has to say about how you can get infected, but will it ever be effective when it comes to the behavioural changes necessary to avoid contagion? We have some legitimate doubts about it.
Fighting HIV only on the medical level – mostly in a hospital context – is not giving good results. All the «social» aspects of HIV (from fear to solitude, from disclosure to stigma) are too often left to the sole management of the HIV positive individual.
Today, after three decades of pandemic, too may MSM living with HIV – not to speak of transgender people – don’t know how to cope, what to do and above all how to manage the social level of the infection. From classical questions such «How long have I got left», the focus jumps to the management of shame, sense of guilt, fear of dying and of living, «Does it show?», «Do the others know?».
All this is much more alarming when – quite often, actually – such feelings are shared and ideologically sustained even by long time HIV positive activists.
Of course, every organization chooses its own sphere of competence and no one wants to judge how other structures have been working on HIV/AIDS for so many years. However, Plus wants to bear the scientific issues in mind and at the same time focus, especially now, on the themes mentioned above, giving space and respite to problems having a considerable clout on the life of many people, problems directly influencing even the clinical management of the infection – such as compliance, a vital factor for therapeutic success.
You don’t defeat HIV only with meds, not even through a vaccine, just as hepatitis A and B haven’t been defeated yet. We will be maybe able to defeat it by a simultaneous fight on the scientific and social levels. Nowadays, the latter has quite a lesser space and HIV is not receding as much as expected in the light of the many steps forward done by research.
This is the challenge Plus decided to accept through its constitution. Plus was born with the intent to allow HIV positive people to be safeguarded as both LGBT persons and HIV positive persons, in a context where scientific training and empowerment are promoted and brought forward in an equal atmosphere, by professionals, workers and volunteers who share the same social background and the same experiences of the people who turn to us asking for help.
What We Do
Positive Line 800 586992
This free phone line, active on Wednesdays and Sundays from 18 to 22, is the first one in Italy set up by gay people living with HIV. It’s open to any sort of doubts: HIV negative people can call asking for help in the evaluation of a risk behaviour, people living with HIV are welcome to call in order to share experiences and ask for information.
If you have doubts about a risk sexual intercourse, you think you may have got the HIV infection or just want to take the test, but you’re not feeling ready to go alone, you can write to firstname.lastname@example.org. An operator of ours will be glad to fix a preliminary interview and, if you want it, accompany you to the test and later to collect the examination result.
If you’ve just collected the result and it is positive, you may feel scared, worried, or confused. In our organization you will find LGBT operators who shared your very experience, people who are ready to listen to you and to answer any question. To fix an appointment, please write to info@plus- onlus.it.
The fight against discrimination of people living with HIV, the promotion of safer sex behaviours and regular testing are the core themes of the campaigns Plus has been developing so far and will develop in the future.
Seminars and Workshops
Our organization offers seminars and specific periodic meetings for LGBT people living with HIV, in order to exchange points of view and concentrate on topics like: therapy management, everyday life with HIV, sexual life and life as a couple, safeguard of the HIV positive person. If you want to keep constantly up-to-date, please visit the «Eventi» section of our website.
If you want to talk live with a Plus operator in order to ask his advice about your current situation, you can fix an appointment by dialling the free phone number 800 586992 on Wednesday or Sundays from 18 to 22, or by sending an email to email@example.com.