There are countless forms of support for HIV – ask Brice.
A community that’s educated is a community that can accept its members. Ask Brice, a case manager who works every day to give and promote compassion and support to those who need it most – especially those living with or newly diagnosed with HIV.
Brice works to help his clients live their best lives, which often includes providing emotional support, educational resources or connecting them to the medical services and treatment they need. No matter what, Brice is committed to helping his clients in any way he can.
Helping all people
“Some people enter the social field because they want to help people. But when they’re faced with certain situations – whether that be behavior or a lifestyle they may not agree with or aren’t really educated about – the desire to help all people quickly becomes a desire to only help some people,” Brice said. “My job is to help all people.”
As a Chambersburg native, Brice grew up in the kind of small-town setting familiar to many central Pennsylvanians. After high school, he went to college to further his education with the goal of going into the psychology field.
But along the way, as his mind was opened to new ideas and he was exposed to values and beliefs beyond those he had grown up with, Brice became passionate about social justice. This made him rethink a career in psychology, pushing him instead toward social work.
“It became very important to me to advocate for those who come from disenfranchised backgrounds or vulnerable communities,” he said.
This includes people of all races, sizes, orientations, gender identifications and beyond.
Being plus size and Black, Brice advocates for the elimination of social and sexual intolerance, stereotypes and stigmas for all – in his profession and personal life. He serves on the Franklin County Coalition for Progress, Franklin County PRIDE committee, assists the Chambersburg United Way Diversity Inclusion and Equality work group and more.
Additionally, Brice performs in drag at the Harrisburg Comedy Zone in the show Divas Down Under, and as a personality on Inside the Drag Closet, a radio talk show about all things drag and beyond.
Guiding healthy decisions
In his role as a medical case manager at Keystone Health, most of Brice’s clients live with HIV or are newly diagnosed, with some also dealing with mental health struggles. Anxiety and depression are common and may stem from a variety of other issues clients are faced with. Food and housing insecurities are just a few of the many factors at play that can worsen anxiety and depression.
“When you’re constantly living in crisis, it makes it pretty hard to get the medical and emotional care you need,” Brice said. “I’m there to be your guide, to listen to you and understand your challenges and frustrations…to walk you through how you can overcome.”
When it comes to HIV treatment, Brice takes the same approach. When clients come to him with an HIV diagnosis, many are emotional and upset, sometimes as a result of the stereotypes and stigmas they’ve heard about HIV. Brice talks with his clients and gives them the tools and information they need to understand that, with the help of treatment, HIV doesn’t define them or pose a threat to their well-being.
“Sometimes, a client will be ready to start their treatment right away, but time will pass, and they don’t return for help until they truly need it. And when this happens, they’re apologetic,” he said. “But there is no need for that. All that matters is that they came back to take control…to get the treatment they need, and more importantly, deserve.”
Staying true to one’s self
Another goal of Brice’s is to let his clients know they can still live their life. Their diagnosis doesn’t change who they are, what they’re capable of or what they deserve. This includes relationships and intimacy with others.
Those living with HIV can have meaningful, beautiful relationships and enjoy sex without having to worry about passing HIV to a partner by using condoms and taking HIV treatment regularly. Keeping up with treatments can result in an undetectable status, which means HIV can’t be given to a partner.
If you feel like you’re alone on your path to taking control of your HIV, know you’re not. With the help and support of family, friends, doctors or medical case workers like Brice, you can live a truly extraordinary life.
Find testing and treatment options, educational resources and support by visiting TakeControlHIV.com.