Clients Testimonies

Client 1
I received funding from JAT to attend the National Long Term Survivors residential weekend ‘Positive Lives’, and funded for my travel to the weekend, which I would not have been able to afford without JAT on my sickness and disability benefit. The weekend, July 10th to 12th 2009, included 35 other men and women from around the country in a similar health situation, and numerous therapists for mental and alternative health, an en suite private room, very healthy food and a wealth of information and support from others.

The group had a real feeling of community and some approaches in dealing with specifics of the virus, such as vegetarian eating and how it increased the t-cell counts for some.  Other people affected discussed work issues, specifically how to manage hospital hours with possible part time working hours, which was very important to me. Relationships, side-effects, bereavement, disclosure, living wills and physical ailments were all discussed both formally and informally.

Without JAT’s financial support and quick response to my request for a subsidy, I would not have had this excellent experience.  Since 1996, JAT has provided me with regular mailings, information about health updates, a support group for other Jewish people to meet, and occasional support on bills that grew out of my range due to hospitalisations, including gas, electricity and telephone.  This kind of support is crucial to maintaining the balance of my health while keeping my stress levels at a reasonable level.

When I was very ill in 2001/2002, JAT representatives visited me in the Mildmay Hospice, and also provided a rabbi that I was able to speak to about the way I was feeling.  In these difficult times when THT and Crusaid will no longer help a person with HIV with any kind of respite, JAT helped me to take a week’s respite after a hectic period of hospital procedures. I did not know if I would survive these illnesses, and JAT was there with a kind word, good people and even kosher chocolates.  All of this made me feel included as my family is in Canada and could only give support by telephone.

I have always the staff at JAT especially efficient in providing the results requested and the information that is needed as a client and a service user.

Client 2

I was first diagnosed with HIV the day after my birthday in 2002. A former partner informed me the week before this that he had tested HIV positive and suggested that I should get myself tested. After many years of choosing ignorance over since I felt compelled to take the test. The rest as they say is history.

Living with the virus has often been a lonely, frightening and panic stricken experience. My many lows have mainly been attributable to never knowing exactly when the virus would finally dominate.

Whilst modern medicine has made significant advances the drugs are still very toxic and often have serious side effects, but with the love care and support of my partner and friends I have remained balanced in mind over the virus. Equally important has been the support, patience and genuine understanding of support groups and charities such as JAT.

Being a gay man often conflicts with traditional religious values. As a person of Jewish heritage – my grandfather was a Rabbi – I have been unreservedly welcomed without judgement or hesitation by JAT regardless of my sexual orientation. Interestingly enough I have never fitted neatly into any category, this I have found to my detriment.

The long shadow of HIV is ever present and is undoubtedly a difficult challenge for anyone, but through JAT I feel that my identity and soul as a Jewish gay man has been strengthened.