November 6, 2006

I came to the United States from Guyana in 1992. In 2000, I suddenly got very sick. I didn't know what was wrong with me—and I didn't know anything about HIV or AIDS. All I knew was that I just wanted to sleep all the time. I couldn't eat and I was getting very thin. My sister was very worried about me. She told me about ASC.

Right away when I came to ASC, they helped me find a doctor. As soon as I was diagnosed with HIV, ASC helped me get started on HIV treatments immediately. My case manager accompanied me to the doctor to see how my treatment was going and to help me talk with my doctor. Since I didn't know anything about HIV, there was so much to learn. ASC gave me a lot of education and support.

At the time of my diagnosis, my wife and I were living in a small room in a boarding house. We had to share the kitchen and the bathroom with six or seven other people. We didn't have much privacy and it wasn't a comfortable place to live—especially with me being so sick.

Once my medical situation was more stable, ASC began to help my wife and me find a better place to live. We looked at a lot of different places and eventually found something good. It was on the first floor, so it was easy to get to and we didn't have to climb a lot of stairs. It's a nice apartment and I really appreciate it.

Now, I can prepare a meal in my own kitchen. I can take a bath whenever I want to, and I don't have to wait for other people to use the bathroom. And we have our privacy. Right now, my wife is on chemo treatments for breast cancer and has a home-care attendant. Our situation would have been even harder if we didn't have our own place to live.

Since I came to ASC, they've helped me in so many ways. Along with the medical care and housing assistance, I've used the food pantry, gotten individual counseling, and received treatment education that helps me understand how my HIV medications work and how to make the most of them.

Being at ASC has been very educational for me. At ASC, they explain everything to you, and they care about you. That's what I like about it. I never knew anything about HIV and I wasn't aware of what I had. Now, I know lots more. I understand my medications and I feel able to take care of myself.

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