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From Homeless to Housed: Giving People With HIV Get a Hand

From Homeless to Housed: Giving People With HIV Get a Hand
Yvonne: The Supermom
Yvonne has lived more in her 38 years than most people do in a much longer lifetime. She has eight children and is about to welcome her second grandchild. Her days revolve around those children. Cooking, cleaning, and ensuring that the kids get to school on time, Yvonne is like any busy mother. But she is living with HIV.
Before Yvonne found out she was HIV-positive in 2008, she was suffering from yeast infections and terrible coughs. Being a health professional, she knew something was wrong. She had been working in nursing homes as a medical assistant and even helped do a school-related project on pregnant women with HIV. But Yvonne didn’t think that it would ever happen to her.
“When I was in the waiting room I started praying,” she says. “As soon as I was told I had HIV I felt lost, empty. I remember going home and taking a long, hot shower…just scrubbing as hard as I could until I nearly bled because I felt dirty.”
Her diagnosis started a downward spiral. She blamed her boyfriend for the infection, and the relationship soon turned violent. For the next year, she couldn’t leave her home. She lost her job, her house, and worst of all, her children.
“I couldn’t face anyone,” Yvonne says. “I couldn’t continue normal life as it was. What else could go wrong?”
During this difficult period, she had flashbacks of physical and sexual abuse she had suffered as a child, preventing her from moving forward.
When everything seemed lost, Yvonne reached out to God for answers, and she found peace. “I knew I couldn’t do it by myself,” she says. “I needed God’s strength.” This gave Yvonne the will to take back her health—and her children.
The Alliance for Housing and Healing found a stable and safe three-bedroom apartment for Yvonne and five of her children. Her favorite thing about her living space? The trees. “When I take my children for long walks and we just stare up at the leaves, it is so peaceful,” she says. “It is where God exists.”
Yvonne plans on getting her trucking license to make a good living to support her children. Life seems back to normal now—so normal, in fact, that she almost forgets she has HIV.


Tags: Stigma

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