Imagine you have hit rock bottom. You’ve attempted suicide, you’ve used drugs to deal with trauma, and now you’re homeless and unemployed because your husband got violent when he found out you were HIV positive. You are only 23 years old.
This was Lena’s story when she first called Alaska 2-1-1 seeking help. A trained informational specialist referred her to Alaskan Aids Assistance Association (Four A’s). At that point, she was unsure about most things – whether to start HIV medication, how to proceed with divorce, whether to tell anyone else about her diagnosis.
But there was one thing that she was certain of: she was part of a community that cared. That there was a helpline that could connect her to available resources, and organizations like Four A’s that could provide case management and the assistance she needed to get employment as a secretary, access health insurance, and apply for subsidized housing. She began treatment and started dating again, finding a man who she trusted enough to share her status.
Recently she stopped by the Four A’s office to check in with staff. Lena is a very understated, quiet woman who rarely smiles, but this afternoon she was beaming. She had just received a promotion and pay increase at work.
She had learned that with time, hard work, and community support, rock bottom can become a distant memory.