TITUSVILLE, N.J., (September 12th 2011) – Chad says his HIV diagnosis in 2009 was the last in a series of life events that left him without hope. He remembers feeling as though he had lost everything, and then lost his health as well. One way Chad says he emerged from this dark time was by educating himself about the disease and starting to reach out for support. There are still days when he admits he grieves about the past, but Chad now says he feels he is able to accept and move beyond that pain with help from the people in his life who listen to him without judgment.
Chad is one of four people living with HIV who share their stories in The Journey, a series of videos produced by Janssen Therapeutics, Division of Janssen Products, LP, now available on The Journey: Portraits of People Living with HIV playlist on the Johnson & Johnson health channel on YouTube. The Journey is an inspiring video series that shows how four people who are living with HIV each have overcome emotional barriers following their HIV diagnosis, and was developed to help people newly diagnosed with HIV along their own journeys.
“I hope my story encourages people diagnosed with HIV who have not yet sought support to begin that journey,” said Chad. “Some of my support came from a local AIDS service organization (ASO) that provided information, resources and, maybe most importantly, a community that helped me find the strength to live the full life I wanted beyond my HIV diagnosis.”
Chad received support and a sense of community from Test Positive Aware Network (TPAN), an ASO located in Chicago.
“We’ve been serving people living with HIV for almost 25 years,” said Jeff Berry, HIV advocate with TPAN. “I’ve witnessed firsthand the emotional challenges someone who has tested positive might experience, including issues with stigma, isolation, disclosure and acceptance. It is vitally important for someone who has received a positive HIV diagnosis to hear from other people who have gone through the same thing.”
Janssen Therapeutics reached out to the HIV community to learn more about the challenges of those newly diagnosed with HIV to explore new ways to provide support. The insights gained from its outreach to advocacy leaders and peer support teams at ASOs led to the development of The Journey.
“Discussions with the community we serve helped us identify several obstacles that prevent newly diagnosed people from getting into care, including emotional barriers, fear of disclosure and lack of knowledge,” said Vanessa Broadhurst, president of Janssen Therapeutics. “The Journey was developed in response to this need and we are pleased to present this new resource for people who are seeking support after an HIV diagnosis.”
Each of the four remarkable people who shares his or her story has embarked on a path to overcome significant challenges and now helps others at ASOs in areas of high HIV infection rates: Chad in Chicago, Andre in Birmingham and Hattie and Daniel, both in New York City.  As Hattie, Chad, Andre and Daniel recall when they were diagnosed with HIV, they discuss how they overcame barriers and how support from a loved one or an ASO helped them realize that they are not alone.
The Journey: Four stories, four voices
Chad’s HIV diagnosis came along with some personal challenges. Rather than allow them to stand in his way, he faced those challenges head on and broke through to a renewed life of family and community support, activism and self-care. Chad volunteers with TPAN and Chicago House and Social Service Agency in Chicago, IL. Click here to see Chad’s journey.
Andre used his strength and self-expression to help overcome the barriers he faced when he was diagnosed with HIV. His poetry allowed him to share what he calls his “declaration” poem—a declaration of life and of choosing a positive course fueled by courage and the will to move forward. Andre works with AIDS Alabama in Birmingham, AL. Click here to see Andre’s journey.
Since receiving his HIV diagnosis, Daniel draws support and meaning from his faith, his partner and being part of a caring HIV community. He loves to cook for those around him, and just as eating brings people together, he believes that people living with HIV can gain strength from community. Daniel works with the Latino Commission on AIDS in New York, NY. Click here to see Daniel’s journey.
When Hattie learned she was HIV positive, it took some time for her to overcome the stigma that came with the diagnosis. With the help of family and friends, she was able to realize all she had to live for and now faces each day with the support of her loved ones – and a lot of laughter. Hattie works with the AIDS Service Center in New York, NY. Click here to see Hattie’s journey.
To find an ASO near you for support and services, visit www.AIDS.gov/locator.
About The Journey
The Journey aims to help people newly diagnosed with HIV learn from others who have broken through emotional barriers following their own HIV diagnosis. The Journey was funded and produced by Janssen Therapeutics. The videos are posted on The Journey: Portraits of People Living with HIV playlist of the Johnson & Johnson health channel on YouTube. The people featured in the series present their own stories and ideas; all speakers in the series have been compensated by Janssen Therapeutics for their participation. No Janssen Therapeutics products are named or promoted in the videos.
About Janssen Therapeutics
At Janssen, we are dedicated to addressing and solving some of the most important unmet medical needs of our time in HIV and other infectious diseases. Driven by our commitment to patients, we develop innovative products, services and healthcare solutions to help people throughout the world. Headquartered in Titusville, New Jersey, Janssen Therapeutics, Division of Janssen Products, LP, is one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies. Please visit JanssenTherapeutics.com for more information.
 Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (June 14, 2010). Adults and adolescents living with a diagnosis of HIV Infection, by race/ethnicity and area of residence, year-end 2008—United States and 5 U.S. dependent areas. http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/surveillance/resources/reports/2009report/pdf/table21.pdf. Accessed August 2011.