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"It is hard being positive": An AFC client makes the most of every day

Four years ago, AFC was introduced to Scott Christian. In life, Scott has had his fair share of health difficulties. Having endured tuberculosis as a child, it was hard for Scott to hear of his new HIV-positive diagnosis in 2010 — and to hear that his T-cell count was 233, just 33 counts above the threshold for AIDS.

Today, Scott is doing better and lives in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood. Although he still struggles with the mental aspect behind living life as an HIV-positive man, Scott has expressed immense gratefulness for his apartment, especially considering that he was homeless and sleeping on trains not long ago.

Scott is housed through the Samaritan Housing Program, a program funded through AFC and designed to transplant seriously homeless individuals with chronic medical or mental illness into permanent housing as soon as possible. The Samaritan Housing Program offers a total of 195 housing units, twenty of which are managed by the program.

“I was actually thankful. I went from being homeless to being HIV-positive, but it gave me a different outlook, so what I considered bad turned out to be good and gave me direction.”

The transition from being homeless and using drugs back into a healthy, secure lifestyle can be tricky, but with the help of this program, Scott has become an inspiration to himself and others. Not only is Scott an aspiring advocate for people living with HIV, but he is active tennis player — a sport he once won awards for in college. He spent last summer teaching tennis lessons to youth for the Chicago Park District and plans to do the same this summer. With framed photographs from the tennis courts throughout his cozy one-bedroom apartment, Scott’s passion for the sport has stayed the same.

Scott faces daily struggles, like an interrupted sleep schedule and loss of appetite, and he attributes it to his treatment regimen. However, for him, the hardest part about living with HIV is the mental aspect —“I was finding myself crying because I knew I had done this to myself.”

Through it all, he finds joy in his four-legged friend, Pi the cockapoo. With the holidays approaching, Scott is excited about spending some time alone and baking homemade pumpkin pies from scratch. 

Having experience in business management, Scott values the relationships that he has formed through AFC and its partners. Knowing the importance of building relationships and the value of the services offered, he speaks about the organization highly — “A lot of people that are positive, they want to be in the program I am in. You all [AFC] promote health, you all promote well-being, you all promote happiness and love.”

Whether it is teaching tennis to Chicago youth, being a leader in the classroom or encouraging the HIV-positive population in Chicago to advocate for themselves, Scott Christian is a success.

Categorized under Inside Story.