Sofia: “CheckPoint” Offers Help For People With HIV

Two foundation have set up a support group for people living with the human immunodeficiency virus, also known as HIV, in Sofia. Those affected can take part in free meetings and share their experience, difficulties, as well as advice with other members.

According to the founders, members can both give and receive emotional and moral support. Doctors and other experts are supposed to be invited once in a while, in order to talk about all aspects having to do with the infection.

“CheckPoint Sofia”, the first facility of its kind in Bulgaria, is being run by the GLAS Foundation and the Initiative for Health, another Bulgarian foundation.

According to the founders of “CheckPoint Sofia”, people living with HIV are often confronted with loneliness, isolation and other grave issues. Members of the support group might be able to adapt to their situation and take control of their lives again, with the support they are getting.

The meetings are being moderated by Alexander Milanov, a clinical social worker with experience regarding counseling patients with socially significan illnesses, according to the Bulgarian publication “Huge”.

“CheckPoint” says the first support group is already complete. Individuals interested in joining the second group can contact the facility via their website or Facebook group.

People living with HIV are often stigmatized in Bulgaria and other Balkan countries. The same applies to homosexuals, bisexual, trans-gender and intersex people.

HIV, which often leads to AIDS, can be contracted through sexual intercourse. This applies to both heterosexual and homosexual individuals.

The virus is not being spread by living together, using the same glasses, plates, cutlery or bathrooms. Neither does HIV spread by kissing or certain sexual practices, such as masturbating with a sexual partner.

Using condoms prevents infection from HIV and most sexually transmitted diseases during intercourse.

“CheckPoint Sofia” also offers free, rapid and anonymous HIV, hepatitis B and C and syphilis tests.

The organization’s website can be accessed here, its Facebook page here.

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