10. + Discussions Upstairs

For HIV+ people:

Newly Diagnosed facilitated support group—People who are not newly diagnosed can attend and share the ways they dealt with problems the newly diagnosed people raise, but the facilitator will be good at keeping the focus on the needs of the subject group.

Twenty-Year+ facilitated support group—People who were diagnosed more than twenty years ago may have different relationships to their HIV status than people who were diagnosed more recently. The more dire circumstances of that initial hit may have permanently impacted their identities in a way more recently diagnosed people can’t understand. Not all of us are able to declare, “I refuse to let HIV define my life,” like some billboards say. "20+'s" may also may have different relationships than other people to death and dying,loss, living and aging. More recently diagnosed people are welcome to attend the workshop to discuss their issues with chronology—like facing judgmental attitudes that 20+’s are more “innocent victims” than they, "minus-20's", who had information and prevention outreach to “know better.” [The facilitator has never witnessed that prejudice but has a more recently diagnosed friend who’s been confronted with it by HIV- peers.]

A Discussion Group That Will Not Happen—Positive House would love to have a group in which young positive adults who were born with it share what HIV is to them, but some of us are old enough to know that excessive exploitation of young HIV+ people’s life stories, even young adults, and even when—maybe especially—when they’re more than willing--can be problematic in the long run. [But the program directors guess that the “excessive exploitation” part is not so relevant anymore so they're not sure what to think about it.]

9. Downstairs Happenings

Seronegative friends--romantic and caregiving, are invited to attend these groups:

PFPWA--Parents, Families, and Friends of People With AIDS.

Relationships with Family Members counseling or facilitated group—offered intermittently as needed.

Magnetic Relationships workshop—any issues concerning mixed-status relationships relevant to the particular group.

Therapeutic Massage Instruction and Practice workshop for magnetic couples—a reward for HIV- partners’ tolerance of the house’s preferential treatment of their positive others. We can hire massage therapists from the Immune Enhancement Project nearby.

Healthy-Cooking Class and Dinner group--catered to medicine-related dietary restrictions, health concerns, and culinary companionship.

8. Approach in Practice

Which workshops and discussion groups +Positive House will offer at any given time will be determinined by clients' expressions of need or interest. Workshops and discussion groups will be differentiated by topic, not by participant grouping. Participant groupings will happen by individuals’ relationships to the topics. There will be no “special safe space just for_____,” (a particular group) although the need for that option elsewhere is understood. Personal expression of cultural identifications is completely encouraged within all workshops; the distinction from other approaches is simply access: any HIV+ person who needs all or some of what is offered from a group can attend if they want to.

7. More of the House

We will have a community kitchen, with vegetables and herbs from the roof, and a dining room with a dark hardwood dining-room table you can set your coffee mug down on, and some kind of light fixture on the high ceiling of the entrance/reception room that will have Spanish moss and old Czechoslovakian glass Mardi Gras beads hanging from it to remind us of our sister agency in New Orleans.

There will be a working fireplace somewhere in the house that we will use on special season days like Thanksgiving and Winter Solstice holidays. We will honor World AIDS Day, Day of the Dead, and clients’ birthdays or other survival anniversaries upon request. We can make each other’s birthday cakes. The caretaker will be happy to if no one else wants to. We will celebrate weddings of all kinds in the backyard rose garden. We will not participate in Pride as an agency, but we will celebrate Mardi Gras with extended community any way people would like that we can get away with. We'll have King Cakes.

Workshop and discussion rooms will be furnished with cleaned, comfortable, thriftstore armchairs; some rocking chairs. (The floors are wood that needs refinishing but isn’t going to get it). There will be thick, soft, clean rugs, and big fat pillows on the floor. Rooms have varied seating capacity. Three are round rooms in vertical succession with original curved pane windows brushed by trees.