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To mark World AIDS Day, the U.S. government launched a new project aimed at helping those groups most at risk of contracting HIV across the world. Known as Linkages, it is a global project dedicated to so-called key populations,’ like sex workers, men who have sex with men, and intravenous drug users.
Three years after being diagnosed with HIV, Patrick Ingram is living life fully playing with his dog Coco, running marathons and working full time, while also studying for a degree in public health. But that’s not how his life with HIV began.
“When I found out my status, I essentially got a sheet of paper and told to call one of the numbers on there for a clinic I felt comfortable going to,” Ingram said. “I called. I set up an appointment, and things just never worked out. I would show up, and they wouldn’t have me on their books. I would leave messages, and no one would call me back. So after dealing with that for about a week and knowing I was really sick, I wanted to give up.”
But once he found the right support network, managing his life got easier.
“Having a medical case manager who walks me through any issues I may have, if it comes to housing, paying utility bills, even dealing with disclosing it to people. I just think having a whole team is really important. It’s more than just having a doctor.it’s about having an entire team of people who are really just focused in on you and your health,” he said.
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