Here are ASA, we work with people from all walks of life and a variety of cultures. In some cases, they may be rejected by their communities for coming out as gay or HIV-positive. And in other cases, they may feel they have to stay strong and not let their pain show.
Last week, one of our Outreach Specialists, Jose Munoz, recounted a touching story to us that reminded us all why we do the work we do:
I want to share something that just happened and moved my heart.
Just came back from Brackenridge where I went to see a new client who was diagnosed 15 years ago but never has been on treatment. After talking and explaining the process of being linked into medical care we did our intake paperwork with (good) interruptions to clarify information. When I was ready to leave and shaking the client’s hand, he broke out and started to cry. Just imagine a “Mexican macho man” because in Mexico, “men do not cry,” right? By the way it is not true, but those familiar with the Mexican culture know what I am talking about, this internal cultural stereotype.
Anyway, the client told me (indirectly told the agency), “Thank you very much because you are the person that gave [me] hope that I will get better. I was seriously thinking about killing myself because I did not see any hope.” While he did that, he held my hand for about half a minute. I felt great because that type of comment is the most important reason all of us in ASA are working in this field. This is just the beginning of this work in progress with this client because I am sure he will get better.
Just wanted to share this with all of you to remind you why we are in this field…
Jose’s story touched many people in the office, bringing tears to our eyes, because it highlights a true transformation that we see each day! When people have lost their families due to stigma, ASA has helped them find new circle of support. When people can’t afford to take care of their health, ASA has helped them focus on getting better. Many people arrive here with no hope, having thought that their HIV-positive status was a death sentence. But all of our amazing staff are here to help them regain hope and see the bright future that lies ahead.