25 Stories: Peter


December 13, 2012



Peter was released from prison late last year. When he first came to The Damien Center to access transportation assistance, 33-year-old HIV+ Peter was living with his sister in Marion County. He was employed but struggled daily to get to work on time. Not only did Peter lack reliable transportation, but he also often came to his appointments in over-sized clothing with holes in his shirts and shoes. The problem? Peter worked in a hot factory, where baggy, torn clothing was both unsafe and uncomfortable. Peter often worked six days each week, frequently neglecting his health and missing medical appointments because he was trying so hard to make an honest living.

Peter's Damien Center Care Coordinator knew Peter just wanted to be healthy and self-sufficient, no matter how hard it would be. Together, they took additional time to work on transportation security and help Peter obtain appropriate and safe clothing for work and other events. They also developed a contract that Peter signed agreeing to attend all his medical appointments as scheduled to help him maintain his health. Peter was referred to Wishard for immediate medication and other medical services, including applying for additional health insurance through Wishard Advantage.

Today, Peter is on the road to success. Since he first came to The Damien Center, Peter has further utilized the agency to obtain new housing through the HOPWA (Housing Assistance for People With AIDS) program. Peter has been in the HOPWA program for nearly a year and continues to work hard and meet the responsibilities of the program, steadily moving toward self-sufficiency and a positive, healthy lifestyle. Peter has not only continuously expressed his gratitude for the services and help he has received, he has expressed an interest in contributing his time one day to similar work. Peter hopes he can one day give back to help those who are in the position he once was in.

Peter is one of thousands of individuals The Damien Center empowers each year to move forward with dignity in face of HIV.