Alex: Finding connection and community at Casey House

Alex has been a Casey House client since 2003. He’s accessed multiple services over the years, including the lunch program, massage therapy, and support from a social worker. He loves knowing that Casey House is here, offering specialized services to people who are living with HIV.

“Casey House is sort of like an oasis for all of us where we can feel safe.”

Alex particularly loves the feeling of community and connection fostered by gathering for a hot mid-day meal.

“The lunch program is very important. When we get here, we meet other people. We break this isolation because we can connect. It’s not really the fact that we come to pick up a pack of lunch…This connection that we have with other members of the community is so important for us.”

When asked about the massage therapy treatments he received at Casey House, Alex notes that while it was about gaining relief from pain, addressing muscle soreness, tension and anxiety was only one part. It was also about receiving physical touch and genuine acceptance.

He says, “One of the things that happens to people living with HIV is that you get rejected, you get discriminated against… when you have the therapist giving you a massage, they are touching you and… you don’t feel that rejection anymore. They treat you like a regular person and that’s super important.”

The support he felt extended to conversation as well. They discussed substance use, and he was impressed with their knowledge of mental health and addictions, in addition to their expertise in HIV. When Alex mentioned that he was having trouble finding housing, she immediately connected him with a social worker, who helped with housing assistance.

Alex feels comforted, knowing that Casey House is here for him today – and will continue to be there for him in the future.  He appreciates knowing there is a local hospital that specializes in HIV.

“I know that if something bad happens to me, I can knock on the door of Casey House and receive palliative care. In the future, that’s going to be super important for me. I know that.”

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