Who we are:

The Center for Inspirational Living was founded in 1991. It is a non-profit, non-governmental organization, and a member of the Committee of the Center for the Control of Sexually Transmitted Diseases.
The Center offers its services to anyone affected by hiv / aids regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, or racial origin. Its principle aim is to provide affectionate care, counselling and support to people with hiv/aids and help with the problems that they may face.

What we offer:

All services are free of charge and all information received remains strictly confidential.

How you can help:

The Center for Inspirational Living depends on the generosity of its supporters to maintain its services. You can help the Center continue its work in a variety of ways :

How to become a friend of the Center:


by Maro Karamani

Six years have passed since the first time I came into contact with people who were hiv infected and were ill at the substandard unit of the State General Hospital. I was shocked by the fear and the loneliness mirrored in their eyes and I decided there and then that feeling shocked simply wasn't enough; I had to do something about it.

During the past six years, all of us who work at the Center for Inspirational Living, members, friends, volunteers, some hiv-positive some not, have come to believe that aids is simply yet another life-challenging illness amongst the multitude that plague the human species. It follows that those who are challenged by aids have the same needs and the same rights as any other patient. One would think this is self-evident, but is it really? The majority of Greek society thinks not.

However, I do not wish to talk about the responsibility of the State to inform and educate the public, nor do I wish to broach the subject of Greece's conservatism. This time I want to talk about the responsibility shouldered by hiv+ people themselves, a responsibility to claim and affirm their rights. I am talking about the "invisible" minority, who lost in fear and shame hide from the light of day. Non-governmental organisations are only too painfully aware of the manhunt the media goes through each time they want to find an hiv+ person willing to speak out on television, even with her/his back turned or face covered. Those who dare show their face are extremely few and usually lack a family or social circle, nor are they active members in society. Consequently, hiv+ people are portrayed in a way that is not at all representative of the average hiv+ person.

Who is the average hiv+ person, one might ask. Why, it's people just like you and I, like our friends, our family, our own children. So hiv+ people are continually misrepresented and made out to be highly problematic individuals.

On the one hand the public are quite well educated about how the virus is transmitted through sexual intercourse, but not that well informed when it comes to the impossibility of it being transmitted through everyday social contact. Most people are aware that they must use condoms as a means of protecting themselves, but painfully unaware of the falseness of myths that still go around (I won't get it if I have unsafe sex only once... my partner will get mad if I suggest using a condom...)

On the other hand, we have hiv+ people, who continue to be active members of society and to support themselves, but who are also constantly worried that they will lose their jobs should their status ever be known (it has been known to happen). They are worried that they will be thrown out of their houses (it is not unheard of) or that their friends will walk out on them (sadly, this happens all the more often). Thus, in the name of false security they sacrifice their inalienable right to be treated with respect, dignity and love by everyone, be that a friend, family or a co-worker.

If, however, the 20,000 or so hiv+ people in Greece decided to speak out about their condition, then maybe society would finally realise that hiv+ people are not somewhere else, but right here amongst us, that they form part of our lives, and perhaps would accept them as such and not marginalise them.

I believe that the effort of the Center for Inspirational Living to claim equal rights for all patients will have succeeded when instead of me there is an hiv+ person signing Center papers with no fear, when we fill the streets to oppose discrimination, when we are not scared to ask for what is rightfully ours.

I am therefore addressing all those who live in the shadows and in fear and I ask them to join non- governmental organisations, so that we can claim together what should really be self-evident.

Let us stop waiting to be pitied. Let us not beg for crumbs of understanding by others. We are entitled to and deserve the same rights as all citizens. We should bear in mind, however, no one is going to help us unless we help ourselves.

Maro Karamani is the president of the Board of Directors of the Center for Inspirational Living. This article originally appeared in 'POSIThiv', a free magazine produced by the Center for all people affected by aids/hiv in Greece

The information of this page was provided by Dana Sa'd, a volunteer of the Center for Inspirational Living and co-editor of the magazine POSIThiv.

For more information about anything aids-related in Greece, contact

Disclaimer: All views are the authors own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Center for Inspirational Living.

This page was last updated: May 14, 1996.

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