Social Workers

Coping with a chronic or life-threatening illness can be extremely stressful and life-changing. There is often a feeling of uncertainty and a sense of loss of control. Being diagnosed with HIV can bring about all kinds of feelings, all of which are very normal. Such feelings include disbelief, shock, shame, sadness, anger, guilt, hopelessness, blame and self-blame. Many of these feeling can lead to isolation and coping in unhealthy ways (denial, use of drugs, alcohol, etc.). Unfortunately, out of ignorance, society stigmatizes HIV, making it difficult for those with HIV to feel comfortable seeking the support and care available to them. Often, because of fear or unnecessary shame, individuals try to cope without any help from others. However, it is important for people to connect with others and to be connected to resources.

To help patients cope, the SIU offers licensed professional social workers at clinic visits and by appointment for emotional support, short-term counseling, referrals and links to community resources. In addition, the social work staff is trained in mental health, helping patients adjust to living with HIV, running support groups, and providing individual and family/partner support and guidance. They also assist with insurance and medication issues. The social workers will meet the patient wherever he/she may be in the process of dealing with HIV. The goal of social work involvement is to help the patient get to a point where HIV is seen as only a part of their lives and to empower patients to regain some sense of control over their circumstances.

Elizabeth L. Habat, MSW, LISW
Licensed Independent Social Worker

Amy C. Horning, MSSA, LSW
Licensed Social Worker

Jill C. Maraden, MSW, LSW
Licensed Social Worker

Michael C. Morgan, MSW, LSW
Licensed Social Worker

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