Karen was diagnosed with HIV on July 21, 2011. As a young, single, mother of one, she was devastated by the news of her diagnosis. She refused to take her medication because it was a constant reminder of her HIV status. Karen also struggled to share her diagnosis with friends and family. She felt scared and alone. Karen’s medical case manager connected her to a Palmetto Community Care support group and peer services. She began to take her medication consistently and went to her medical appointments. Within several months, Karen became virally suppressed.
Karen began to share her story and become an advocate for others living with HIV. In 2017, she won a Youth Initiative Scholarship to attend the U.S. Conference on AIDS in Washington, D.C.
Ashia is a 61-year-old who was diagnosed with HIV in 2004. Ashia had been using alcohol, crack cocaine and marijuana since she was 30. She was unemployed with an unstable housing situation and no support system. She reached out to Palmetto Community Care for support, ultimately getting sober in 2009.
After suffering from a stroke in 2015, Aisha was determined to keep going. She began taking classes in medical coding, graduated and moved to North Carolina. Her new situation wasn’t conducive to her sobriety, so she returned to Charleston and reconnected with Palmetto Community Care and her medical providers. Today, Ashia is happy and healthy and her viral load remains undetected. She loves her work as a health aid in a group home for vulnerable adults.
Ava Rose’s Story
Ava Rose moved to South Carolina to be with her spouse, but soon after, he abandoned her. In 2012, she connected both with Palmetto Community Care and a local church where she found a solid support system. Yet, Ava continued to struggle with housing, moving from one friend’s home to another for four years.
Despite these challenges, Ava attended all her medical appointments and remains virally suppressed. With the help of her case manager, Ava ultimately was approved for an apartment through the tenet-based rental assistance program. Without our help, she would have returned to her hometown, where health care is insufficient for her unique medical needs. After so many years of being displaced, Ava is happy to have a place to call home.