6. The House

Positive House will have a café and backyard tables open to extended community including children and dogs and pets that get along with dogs. The walls of the café will be covered with portraits of people and animals that clients consider to be their family members. It will be called “The Zoo.” We will have pictureframes and parts of old frames and things to make frames out of in a glassed-in sun-porch art room. The cafe will serve beer, wine, and Peet's coffee.

Clients can make murals or non-hate graffiti (definitely including any symbols of equality, human rights and diversity that speak to them) all over the walls of the whole house however they feel like it. Individuals can write what they feel they’ve lost (or who) or what they wish for the rest of us, or what they wish the rest of us would understand, or what they hope for. They can write their reactions to what’s already written.

Upstairs (or elevator) there will be cat-access to one of the reading rooms via a window fire escape that leads up to the community roof garden. When it’s sunny no one has to wear clothes on the roof if they don’t want to. There will be another reading room on the other side of the house for people who are allergic. Our cat is a Katrina refugee. ("Refugee" in the sense that she is cared for in a place that will never be the same as her home). She is calico. Her name is Gumbo.

There will be a library between the reading rooms stocked with a core set of reference books containing information pertaining to all of us. We will have And the Band Played On and a section of books and videos on our epidemiological history from places around the world that we will ask clients to contribute materials to, especially in different languages. The rest of the library we will stock initially with books and movies we guess might be of interest to clients, who can borrow them as they like, or take what they like and replace with books and movies they would like other people with HIV to read or see for whatever reason. There will be no librarian. There will be a big desk (heavy old, hardwood scratched up desk) for clients to write reviews or recommendations of the books or movies they have borrowed or contributed. They can stick their reviews all over the walls.

5. Testing

If Positive House's magical funding requires that we reserve free, anonymous, confidential HIV testing for only those most at risk, then we will determine that risk by individual behavior assessment, not by demographic profile. No person who walks through our front door, up to our front desk, and says, "I need an HIV test," will be told, "Sorry, that's only for_____," and given a referral, without in the very least, being provided basic personal risk assessment first. If +Positive House does not offer testing, we will provide test counseling with referral for anyone who asks for one, and if for any reason that client woud be more comfortable being tested at an AIDS service organization that is not allocated to test their demographic population than at one that is, then we will counsel them that they have the right to self-identify however they need to to get the medical procedure they require that is offered there. In case there is any problem with that we will provide a peer advocate (of any positive kind) to accompany them to the site to vouch for their signification.

4. Some Policies

As an agency,+Positive House will not exploit symbols or logos of diversity, human rights, or equality in order to keep pressure on ourselves to exhibit those qualities as much as is possible through the availability and results of our services. We are an imperfect, but living house that speaks for itself.

Any agency newsletters or publications produced by +Positive House will use the word “people” to mean people, not majority-group-unless-otherwise-specified. The word “we,” within the framework of our agency’s newsletters or publications, will be used to refer to us as HIV+ positive people.

We will be governed by HIV+ positive individuals and will have a community advisory board of individuals who can help us regardless of their HIV status. +Positive House would like to employ as many positive people as possible, but no rule on that in order to have open opportunity for any who are non-disclosing, as well as to allow wide option space to offer the highest quality care we can for each other. Diversity in administration will be based on diversity of individuals’ abilities and unique experiences. We will inevitably tend toward homogeneity, and we will accept and respond to that tendency by constantly extending real invitation in new ways and places without profiling or targeting.

3. Reason for Being

Positive House is created from the experience that if all services and programs addressing a particular health problem are designed for targeted groups (however those targeted groups may be determined), then it is likely that there will be a portion (however small) of the larger population affected who will be left out of services that pertain to them continually, who may have nothing in common with each other other than being excluded--and that therefore it is ethical to reserve proportionate resources for target services and programs to be made open and available to anyone at all in corresponding need of them.

2. The Dream

I will give a very big, old house with big trees and a yard on Dolores Street for services to and community for HIV+ people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender, color, or IVDU history. It will be our positive house. We will not be prevention driven. What we will offer are healing space and services concerning universal quality of life issues of living with HIV in all our different kinds of bodies. By having a Positive House, we wouldn’t in any way be intending to disrespect the many ways our extended HIV- communities are important and necessary to us. But while we understand the intentions and truth of AIDS/LifeCycle’s slogan, "We Are All Living with AIDS," we also understand that there are differences between living with HIV in your own DNA and living with people who do, no matter how intimately, or with how much devotion or dedication, or for how long.

It would not be possible to serve every positive individual's needs, and not everyone would want what +Positive House would have to offer (or would want to be around each other), but everything that the house offers will be available to every HIV+ person.