HIVE’s goal is to advance reproductive and sexual wellness for those affected by HIV in the San Francisco Bay Area and across the United States. To achieve this goal, HIVE provides many types of care to these communities. Whether it be medical, social, financial, or otherwise, HIVE makes themselves accessible for those who need care.
As mentioned in my first blog posting, HIVE does a lot of work online through their website, www.hiveonline.org. More specifically, the blog section of their website— www.hiveonline.org/hive-blog/ —is a space where contributors can share their experiences with HIV, sex, pregnancy, disclosure, and PrEP, among many others. The blog proves to be critical in HIVE’s mission because to see and read the stories of others who are experiencing the same things can be greatly affirming. For example, for someone who is living with HIV who is finding it difficult to disclose their status to romantic or sexual partners, it is helpful to read the stories of others who have experienced similar situations.
Aside from the blog, HIVE’s website hosts resources for those who are affected by HIV, as well as medical providers who support these communities. For HIVE patients, the resources can act as a supplement to the care they are receiving. But for those who are outside of the San Francisco Bay Area, or those who cannot access medical care for a variety of reasons, the website is critical in obtaining information that is otherwise unavailable. What is more is that the information that HIVE hosts on their website is presented in a warm and friendly manner. That is to say, in many cases, medical care can feel overwhelming and hostile and can be the site of incurring additional trauma, which is often not talked about. Actions such as misgendering individuals, committing racist or sexist microaggressions, and misrepresenting and devaluing one’s life experiences are all valid reasons for opting out of medical care. But HIVE recognizes the power of language and the assumed benevolence of medical care and transforms their HIV care in ways that are caring and compassionate. For example, HIVE worked with AIDS Foundation Chicago to release a series of videos on HIV and reproductive and sexual health. The videos feature real individuals and couples affected by HIV speaking about their real experiences and reproductive goals. The series is touching and poignant, reimagining what HIV care can look like. To watch, visit: https://www.hiveonline.org/chicagohivlovewinsvideoseries/
In sum, HIVE advances reproductive and sexual wellness for those who are affected by HIV by making care accessible both for those who are able to attend clinics and those who are not. For this reason, change and progress in HIV care looks like accessibility and having care be available for everyone. Taking a small step such as sharing one’s story or providing a platform to do so produces an effect beyond what one can imagine in transforming HIV care and reproductive and sexual health.