Faces & Places: Shepherd Wellness Community’s 35 Years of Service

Photo by Chad Isaiah.

Shepherd Wellness Community commemorated 35 years of service to the HIV+ community last week.

In the summer of 1987, four gay men living with AIDS met with Father Lynn Edwards, an Episcopal priest; Bill Brandon, a physician; and Cynthia Klemanski, a social worker. The four gay men wanted to discuss the ramifications of the AIDS pandemic on Pittsburgh, but they were also concerned about the emotional wellbeing of people affected by HIV.

That October of 1987, Father Edwards, Brandon, and Klemanski founded the Shepherd Wellness Community.

We are incredibly thankful for the advancements in medical treatment for HIV/AIDS. HIV+ people now have drugs to minimize their viral load to untransmissible levels and render them asymptomatic. Yet the societal perception around the disease still lags behind. An HIV diagnosis can still cause estrangement from family and friends due to stigma and misinformation. For 35 years, Shepherd Wellness Community has maintained that HIV+ people deserve love and respect just as much as anyone else. HIV is no longer a death sentence and loneliness should never accompany it.

You can learn more about and connect with the Shepherd Wellness Community on their website and Facebook.

Photos by Chad Isaiah.