We all know that HIV is a sexually transmitted virus that attacks our immune system, leaving us without protection from other illnesses. There is a lot of misconception about HIV, and one of them is that HIV cannot be treated. That is false information. HIV can be prevented and treated, but if left without medication, our immune system will get weaker and weaker until we can no longer fight off viruses. It can lead to severe diseases. This can also lead to AIDS, and that would be a bigger problem. So, what happens when you find out that your loved one is HIV positive? It will be hard to grasp. With that therapists have some suggestions.
If you know a person who has been recently diagnosed with HIV, there are a lot of ways you can help him cope:
Be Open To Talks
Talk about everything and let him open up about his health situation. It is better that you wait for the person to feel comfortable with talking about his HIV problem. Some might be embarrassed but assure your friend or loved one that they have your support.
“People with HIV have a number of issues to work through, the first being how to deal with the realization of their illness and the effect it will have on the rest of their lives,” writes Gwendolyn Barnhart, MS.
Learn How To Listen
Listen to what your friend or loved one has to say. Reassure them that HIV is treatable and there are available medications to help treat and keep them healthy. Always show them your love and your support and your eagerness to listen to them.
Research About The Disease
Educate yourself with HIV. The more you learn, the more you can understand someone going through this challenging phase. Learn how HIV is transmitted, how it can be treated and share them with your friend or loved one who has HIV and show them you understand and are willing to help with whatever they might need.
“It’s absolutely clear that social determinants and environmental factors must be addressed if we’re going to make a real impact,” said Gwendolyn P. Keita, PhD.
Encourage Your Loved One To Go To Treatment
Some newly diagnosed HIV patients do not know what to do or what treatment to get. They might get confused with what to do and think that HIV is untreatable. Support them by encouraging them to undergo treatment and to share knowledge to them that there are treatments available and HIV is treatable and that they do not have to be afraid of undergoing treatment.
“While the number of people living with HIV/AIDS who survive into their 50s, 60s and beyond is truly a success story, this pattern will only continue if our nation can link HIV-infected persons to adequate care, retain them in treatment and place them on antiretroviral therapy, with the goal of achieving viral suppression,” writes Stephen Karpiak, PhD.
Support Him By Reminding About The Medication
When treating HIV, a patient must follow strict rules with the medication prescribed. Ask him how you might be able to help with the medication. Ask if they need help in setting up a routine so they would not forget to drink their medicine and what other things you can do to help them be healthy. Show your support and understanding.
Seek Counseling Or Talk Therapy
It is hard to see a friend or loved on that is sick. Get support by talking to someone else about your fears and anxieties. This will help you feel better, and it will also help your friend or loved one with HIV focus on getting better.
If your partner is someone who has been diagnosed with HIV, talk to your doctor and get tested for HIV. If your tests show you are negative, ask about PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), a medication to prevent HIV infection. If you are tested positive, get treated immediately.
What If A Friend Tells You That He Has HIV?
There are over 1 million people in the United States alone who are diagnosed with HIV so someone you know might be HIV positive. If a friend goes to you and tells you he has HIV, here are some things you can do to let the person know that you support them:
Acknowledge. If a friend told you he had been diagnosed with HIV, thank them for trusting you with a severe matter.
Ask. Ask the person if there is something you can do to help them out. One reason for them telling you is because they are looking for someone to help them or support them while they go through this challenge
Reassure. Show this person that you do not see him any differently and that your friendship will not change. Let that person know that you will be there for him if he needs someone.
Learn. There is a lot of information about HIV and educate yourself so you could understand what your friend is going through and so you could help them in the best way possible. Do not make assumptions because this is a serious matter and it will only complicate things if you are not educated well.
You should be strong enough so you can support a friend or loved one. Always be reassuring and show them your love will never change and that you will stay by their side until they are treated and well.