HIV 101: How Do I Find HIV Support Groups Near Me?

Everyone has questions when they find out they are positive. In this series of posts, here are several of the most common, plus straightforward answers to help you navigate this new life of yours.

BY Diane Anderson-Minshall

March 31 2014 9:23 AM ET UPDATED: April 21 2014 11:42 AM ET

 

Each state has its own toll-free HIV and AIDS hotline, and Project Inform has the full list at ProjectInform.org/hotlines. If you call Project Inform’s HIV Health InfoLine, which is (800) 822-7422, you can talk to nonjudgmental people (in English and Spanish) who will listen to you, share their experiences, offer you accurate information about HIV, and help you navigate health care obstacles and talk to doctors about your concerns.

There are a myriad of support groups, and trying to choose the right one can feel overwhelming. There are more than enough options out there—clinic-based support groups, faith-based support groups, private support groups, online support groups—so you can find one made up of people who share your values, needs, or communication styles. On About.com, HIV specialist Dennis Sifris, MD, and HIV educator James Myhre suggest you consider five things in your search for an HIV support group:

  • Is this group able to provide the confidentiality I need to express myself fully and freely?
  • Can I speak to this group without fear of embarrassment or judgment?
  • Do I require a certain expertise or advice, and, if so, can this group provide me that?
  • Does this group provide the kind of support I need to deal with my immediate issues?
  • What about the other group members? What has the group experience done for them?

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