Published Thursday, 26-Aug-2010 in issue 1183
First and foremost, a huge “Thank You!” to Christina MacNeal Editor of the GLT, for believing in me and allowing this Latin, HIV positive queen to speak to you weekly about what one goes through in day to day life positively living in San Diego. Again, thank you to all my “believers!”
Let me introduce myself…I am Prince Royale Adrian Rodriguez of the Imperial Court de San Diego Inc., born and raised here in San Diego, CA. I grew up in the North County Carlsbad/Oceanside area and I graduated from San Marcos High School, went on to attend college in Los Angeles obtaining a BFA in the field of Design & Marketing and I have been working in fashion for the last ten years.
This column is going to be a space about, and for, HIV positive living. All things that go on day to day in the life of this queer, as seen by me. I extend that platform to community members and would love your feedback and questions, I will try to answer all of them, or find the people who have the answers. Thank you!
Is an awesome organization offering information & referral services to affordable housing property for those affected by HIV/AIDS in the community. The STRMU program short term rental assistance is a program for the HOPWA/homeless prevention and rapid re-housing program, through affordable housing developments. This week I will be focusing on STRMU (Short Term Rent, Mortgage & Utility) assistance program. This program specifically provides up to 21 weeks or 5 months of financial assistance to HIV/AIDS clients living within the county of San Diego. Assistance must be used for rent, mortgage or utility payments; assistance cannot be used for deposits or new move-in payments. All payments are made directly to the rental/utility company and not to the client. Interested people may contact their own case managers or Townspeople Emergency Assistance Coordinator, Ivania Villaescuza, I can tell you now that Ivania is a gentlewoman, scholar and a saint. Personally, she has helped me these past few months. I was down on my luck, unemployed, and really stressing out, because when you are on your meds, going to meetings, doctors appointments constantly, food pantries etc. life can seem difficult each and every day.
The wonderful staff at Townspeople along with their Executive Director’s guidance made the situation so much easier and bearable for my partner Jonathan and I. This isn’t free money-I need to stress that, they do ask that you are in a lease agreement actively, and be a client of theirs. You must have a case management provided by whomever you have already chosen within the community Being Alive, Family Health Centers of San Diego, etc. Know that being HIV/AIDS isn’t a death sentence or disability in a sense, it only is if you let it and allow it to turn your life around. Discover the positive out of negative; allow it to heal you from the inside out, and the outside in. So, if you need some assistance, get on down to Townspeople located at their new location 4080 Centre Street, Suite 204 San Diego, 619-295-8802 or see www.townspeople.org
Started in 1986 it developed the 1st drug trial here at UCSD/AVRC, wow! Impressive! AVRC (Antiviral Research Center) is a clinical research facility located in Hillcrest, it focuses on HIV medications and complications to medication. It runs a series of studies actively and ongoing now, there are a total of 17 - all focusing or ranging from Antiretroviral Studies-Treatment Naïve to antiretroviral studies-treatment experienced, acute/early infection studies, complications and confection studies, studies for women, and finally other studies. UCSD/AVRC is where early test was started. It tests for antibodies as well as viral presence, it can give you an accurate read of exposure within the last seven days, whereas other or most facilities only test for antibodies which gives you a read based on that tricky 3 month window period, so there’s some excellent news to finding the early test or searching for a facility that does this test testing. Positive can be hard enough, know that you want an accurate reading and all the proper tools to make the most informed choices for you and your possible loved one.
As for me and my loved one Jonathan, he just used this early test this week while writing this article. Being positive and having a partner who is negative, it is crucial to maintain undetectable status which can only be attained by taking your meds and taking them often, treatment adherence is something that is so critical, especially for those newly infected. EIP (Early Intervention Program) is kind of like having a babysitter. Speaking from my own experience, I tested positive at UCSD in 2003, June 23rd to be exact, it’s not something you forget easily! With everything one deals with I needed to be babysat, I enrolled in the early intervention program with Terry Albritton, Heidi Aiemes and Dr. Little, Terry being my case manager. She helped me so very much; she helped me to learn and grow with her supervision, and yes, love. I will forever be grateful to AVRC, specifically Terry my “HERO” Yes, as Prince Royale for the Imperial Court de San Diego I was able to raise extra monies for AVRC clients due to the extra budget cut by 2/3. Since my being enrolled in their transitional program. Where I am now, UCSD Owen Clinic all my babes there Carlos Estrada, Gabby, Dr. Kelli Freeborn, Dr.Caperna, Dr. Lonergan and his fabulous lumbar punctures! Ouch! Please stop by and see the people that work for me at the Owen Clinic. Everyone please know your status and check it often. You can use the Early Test. For more information, contact them at (619)543-3064 Terry Albritton or go to http://theearlytest.ucsd.edu.