Access to healthcare is part of United Way of Greater Topeka’s Basic Needs program. The Positive Connections (formerly the Topeka AIDS Project) program shared the story of a U.S. Army veteran who, shortly after returning to the United States after a tour of duty, learned that he was HIV positive, having contracted the virus from a former girlfriend.
The veteran sunk into a deep depression and turned to drinking heavily. When he finally sought out Positive Connections’ services, he was convinced that his life was over, that he would die shortly, and that he would never be able to have another relationship. Positive Connections staff members were able to help him by educating him about the HIV disease process and what he could do to minimize the impact HIV would have on his life. They connected him to a medical provider and referred him to a social worker for some mental health support.
Eventually, the man met a woman that he was interested in and brought her in to meet the Positive Connections staff who educated the couple on how to keep the woman from contracting HIV. Eventually the couple married and have remained married for three years. She remains HIV negative and has joined the Positive Connections board of directors.
The veteran has completed his bachelor’s degree in social work and is currently working on his masters degree. He is healthy, happy and living a productive life and has spoken on numerous occasions of how he credits Positive Connections and their staff for turning his life around.