The 2015 Chicago HIV awareness month reminded me of the reality that our society is currently facing. The truth is that there are already several issues that can shatter one’s dreams or destroy one’s self-esteem, one of which is the human immunodeficiency virus. It is commonly called HIV, which has been recorded as rapidly increasing over the past few years.
In this article, allow me to share the top strategies that I learned from a keynote speaker during the event organized for the celebration of the HIV awareness march. Here are some of the tips to keep in mind when it comes to helping or comforting a victim:
Learn how to respect the privacy of the person who has been found as positive for HIV. Do not pressure him into revealing where he got the virus or how he ended up as being positive. Take note that only a few people are open to discussing it.
Avoid giving unnecessary comments or unsolicited advice, especially at times when he has not asked you to speak. As much as possible, make an effort to avoid offending the victim. He is already suffering, and you have to lessen such difficulty.
Do not treat him differently from others. The last thing that a person with HIV wants is to feel left out in the community. Hence, you must continue to treat him in the same way before you found out that he is positive. Show him that you accept him with open arms.
Aside from this, you must also take good care of yourself. Make sure that you avoid getting such sickness because it can cause a lot of problems in your life. Make it a habit to get checked at least once a year so that you will know your current status. Do not worry because the hospital or clinic is found to keep everything confidential.
Once you have been infected with HIV, it is imperative that you receive treatment. The medication used for HIV is called the antiretroviral therapy or ART. It helps in slowing down or preventing the progression of the infection from stage one to two to three, given of course that it is taken properly. It also helps in reducing the risk of spreading the virus.
Trying to find someone who can be the love of your life, the center of your universe, is not easy for everyone. It is rare to meet that person the first time you go on a date. Typically, many prospects are available, but you need to weed through them all to realize which ones have real intentions to know you and be with you and not merely try to get in your pants.
The challenge of dating tends to increase by a hundredfold, however, if you are carrying human immunodeficiency virus. Considering it is a viral infection that may react well with medication when diagnosed in its early stages, people should not be afraid of going out with you. Unfortunately, no matter how welcoming the world seems for folks living with HIV, the stigma that the disease came with remains intact in the heart and mind of many.
If you genuinely want to end your singlehood and find the one for you, you should remember these things:
Don’t Expect Anything On The First Date
The primary aspect to evoke in your system is that you should not hold your hopes too high the first time you talk to a prospective life partner. You may have only spoken about each other’s likes and dislikes, for instance, yet in your brain, you may already be imagining the two of you growing old together and watching your grandkids play. To avoid getting hurt, take control of your emotions and let the events unfold without expectations.
Not Everyone Will Understand, And That’s Okay
Another fact that you ought to not forget is that the number of non-judgmental fellows is growing, but the folks who may frown upon your condition or try to make you feel ashamed of wanting to date despite your situation are still out there too. You can consider yourself lucky if you can meet the former; regardless if you end up together or not, you won’t feel discriminated. Nonetheless, even when you come across the latter type, you should not let whatever they might say affect your mental state because they are undoubtedly speaking with a lack of knowledge about your condition. It is better to move on from that and look for someone else.
Meet Someone Once You’ve Accepted Your Diagnosis
You should also understand your dating experience can become affected by the way you perceive your case. For example, if you go on a date while hating the reality that you are HIV positive, that emotion may roll off to the person you’ll meet and cause him or her to hate it too. This circumstance can then devastate you, to the point that you believe that no one will appreciate you due to the infection.
However, if you go out with someone when you are already at peace with your condition, chances are, you can care less if he or she rejects you. You know yourself; you are aware of what you can and cannot do because of the human immunodeficiency virus. Assuming those folks refuse to accept you, flaws and all, that is no longer your problem.
You Are Worthy Of Affection
The truth that people who are HIV positive should keep in mind is that rejection is not only common for individuals who have the infection. Even the healthiest folks on the planet tend to fail at meeting someone who wants to take them for who they are as well. That is part of the selection process, and you should be thankful to get away early from men or women who might not support you in dire situations. So, don’t ever think that you are less worthy of affection than anyone.
Among all the incurable diseases out there, HIV/AIDS is perhaps the hardest to live with for anyone. Some might say that unlike mental disorder, the illness does not require the patient to see a psychiatrist often or keep the person stuck in their head for hours. Unlike autoimmune disease, you won’t need to see multiple doctors your entire life and deal with the failure of many body parts due to it.
While both reasonings are valid, the mere fact that HIV/AIDS is a sexually transmitted disease makes it look more extreme than any other illness. After all, there may be people who have no criticism in their bones, but there happen to be some members of the community as well who might be verbal about condemning the infected victims. The others who don’t speak yet don’t make contact either are possibly judging the patients internally too or are afraid of contracting the virus if they get in close proximity.
We know that merely telling you to pay no one any mind is not enough to help you feel stronger to manage your thoughts in such situations. In case you want an idea of how to live normally despite having HIV/AIDS, though, you can take note of the following:
Remember That Blaming Yourself Or Others Won’t Help
When a doctor confirms that you have a sexually transmitted illness, you might either blame yourself for being promiscuous or blame the partner who infected you. You get mad; you want to yell or curse at everybody. It is as if your head is only filled with hateful thoughts.
Regardless of how you got the disease, you should know that starting the blaming game will not do anything. If the specialists can’t find a cure for you, so can’t the person who transferred the virus to you. It will help you more to learn to accept the illness instead.
Know The Things You Cannot Do
Since HIV/AIDS mainly affects your immune system, there are perhaps a plethora of activities that you may be unable to do. For instance, you are not supposed to go to public places much without a mask to cover your nose and mouth because of the other viruses and bacteria you might catch there. If the disease targets your nerves, you cannot be physically active as well, to the extent that even driving an automatic vehicle may be problematic.
Instead of complaining about it, you ought to understand everything that can promote the progression of HIV/AIDS. That is more important than focusing on activities you can do.
Stop Thinking That You Will Die Soon
Perhaps because practically half of the known victims of the sexually transmitted disease worldwide ended up dying, many individuals who have contracted the virus not too long ago may be thinking that they don’t need to try to live since the illness will kill them anyway. The truth, however, is that there are already drugs that may eliminate the viral infection in its early stages or slow down its development. That is more acceptable than having no treatment at all, albeit a long-term cure is nowhere in sight.
HIV/AIDS is a tough adversary not only because it is incurable but also because you have to deal with the stigma once you get diagnosed with it. Nevertheless, other people are living with diseases that the medical world cannot heal either. If a person with diabetes, a cancer patient, or someone with autoimmunity can find some normalcy in their life, you should be able to do the same.
Learn to face your new reality and don’t let the narrow-minded folks get to you. You are fantastic with or without illness. Cheer up!
If a close friend calls you one day and divulges while crying that he or she got diagnosed with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), there may be too many thoughts that will cross your mind. First, you may want to know how it happened, but you might realize at once that it may not be something that the person can discuss right now quickly. You may then ask about who else is aware of the disease or if his or her family members have already heard of the news. Overall, however, you tend to think about how you can help your friend get through this ordeal without falling into depression.
Well, there are no exact steps to assist someone in coping with a sexually transmitted disease. But you are welcome to try by:
Knowing The Best Words To Say Around Him Or Her
As mentioned earlier, there are some questions better left unspoken in front of an individual who lives with an illness like an HIV infection. For instance, instead of asking your friend why he or she forgot to use condoms, you should empathize with him or her and talk about how terrible it must have been to hear about it from the specialist. Rather than downplaying the severity of the problem in hopes of making the person feel better, you ought to show more sensitivity than that and offer help in any way possible.
Understanding The Symptoms Of HIV
Human immunodeficiency virus is no longer a hush-hush topic; that’s why there’s a high chance that you are already aware that it targets the immune system of whoever gets infected by it. Despite that, the number of symptoms that this sexually transmitted disease does not end with the individual catching colds and cough more than others. He or she may also experience extreme fatigue and fever, considering his or her antibodies are working day and night to fight the virus. Additionally, the infection may escalate and affect the bones and muscles, and so body pain is quite common.
You should know such signs of HIV early so that you have an inkling of what’s happening to your associate, no thanks to his or her illness.
Protecting The Person Against Judgmental Folks
The news about your friend contracting a sexually transmitted disease cannot possibly remain as a secret forever. He or she may have mentioned it to a colleague at work who seemed to be trustworthy in the beginning. Later, however, it might turn out that that fellow gossiped about it to other co-employees who are now looking at the HIV-positive person with malice and disgust.
One thing you can do if the diagnosis leaks out is to make it clear to everyone around you that no one has a right to judge your friend. Many tend to stay mum about it and wait till the issue dies down, but you have to remember that it will merely let others believe that what they are doing is okay.
Offering Realistic Support
It is also critical for a true friend not only to tell an ill person that you are always available if they need you. You genuinely have to offer practical support by calling every day to know whether you can get any supply for them or they require company for the doctor’s appointment. This way, they can tell that you are not merely saying it – that you are indeed willing to do anything to help them.
To Sum Things Up
An HIV diagnosis can be unimaginable for everyone. Your friend perhaps trusted the man or woman who infected him or her with it. He or she may have solely wanted to have fun as well when it happened. The thing is, participating in the blaming game won’t alter the damage now. You should focus on helping the patient feel better instead to ease his or her burden.
We have seen the society open its doors wider than ever for the people living with HIV in recent years. Folks no longer keep their distance or shun the patients for having the virus. There are testing facilities as well in almost every health center or clinic, which practically denotes that it is okay to want to get examined for the infection. Best of all, to prevent its continuous spreading, many infomercials about the sexually transmitted disease have started popping up even on mainstream media.
If there is something that producers or creators of this propaganda cannot do, however, it’s to become very detailed regarding what an HIV patient experiences on a daily basis. Doing so entails that they need to be graphic, after all, and that may get flagged by regulatory boards, no matter how informational it may be.
Assuming you are ready to know the symptoms of a human immunodeficiency virus, though, check out the following indications.
One of the first signs that you possibly have HIV is getting a fever. Since it is technically an infection, your body can tell that there’s a foreign entity in your system, and so its natural reaction is to fight the virus. Aside from that, you may have to deal with a sore throat, headache, and swelling lymph glands, thus perhaps causing you to think that you came down with influenza. These symptoms might stay until the infection goes away or gets suppressed by prescribed drugs.
Fatigue happens to be another common indication of HIV. Like we’ve mentioned previously, your immune system will continue battling the foreign bodies for as long as they are in the body. Although it is great to know that you have antibodies to protect you against any virus, it also entails that every cell inside you are working hard even when you are either relaxing or sleeping. That results to you feeling fatigued the entire time.
In case you are too young to develop arthritis or a doctor already confirmed that you do not have this problem, then you might want to look into the possibility that you may be HIV positive. The reason is that the human immunodeficiency virus can go into your bloodstream and enter your joint capsules. When the infection attacks, therefore, these affected body parts will undoubtedly ache and make you feel weak.
Anyone can easily assume that a skin rash is an effect of coming in contact or ingesting an allergen. However, if you are confident that you have never been allergic to anything in the past, and several tests ensure that that has not changed, its cause may, unfortunately, be HIV. The rash typically looks red and feels very itchy, yet it is not raised like a bump that you may get from a mosquito bite. When you scrutinize it, smaller reddish bumps may make it up. If you notice rashes with the same description appear on your feet, hands, chest, face, or other body parts, try to see a doctor at once.
While it may be common for you to experience diarrhea, mainly when you overeat or consume something that doesn’tgo well with your digestive system, you should be aware as well that it can be a symptom of human immunodeficiency virus. Regular diarrhea, after all, may go away after taking a loperamide capsule or two and eating foods that may solidify your stool. If its cause is HIV, though, it may become unrelenting.
In case you realize that you carry any or all of these symptoms – or you know someone who does – you should not wait another day before going to a specialist to get tested. The sooner you treat the infection, the faster you may be able to dispel it from your system.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is undoubtedly one of the diseases that no sane person will ever dream of acquiring. Although health conditions are awful to obtain in general, some folks may prefer to get diabetes or cancer instead of that. After all, the latter develops because of too much eating and other causes, while the former is known to be due to the transmission of fluids from one infected body to another through sex, breastfeeding, or needle-sharing.
Fortunately, the world has become open when it comes to talking about HIV more now than ever. It is not only the members and supporters of the LGBTQ community that spreads information regarding the illness but also the heterosexuals who are aware of the significance of decreasing the number of people who acquire this disease every year.
With the same goal in mind, let us tell you a few practical ways to avoid HIV today.
Always Use A Condom
Regardless of your gender, you should have a condom or two in your bag or wallet if you are sexually active. That is especially necessary when you go on a blind date that may or may not lead to you doing the horizontal tango with the person later in the evening. For the guys, it shows how responsible you are for always carrying protection. For the ladies, it will mean that no man can give you the excuse that he forgot to bring condoms and coax you to do the deed without it.
Refrain From Being Too Promiscuous
Having fun and trying different “flavors” out there – for lack of better word – is technically no longer a taboo. Any man or woman can agree to have a one-night stand with anybody or stay in an open relationship, assuming he or she is a consenting adult. However, the more you sleep with multiple individuals, the higher the risk is that you might contract HIV at some point. Hence, if you can chill for a moment and be choosy with the folks you allow in your bed, you may never worry about a sexually transmitted disease.
Get Tested With Your Partner
In case there is someone you are starting to like even though he or she is still a stranger to you, and you already want to sleep with him or her, it is ideal to make a quick stop at a doctor’s clinic or health center to get an HIV test before going to your place. The prevention of the illness is a top priority now; that’s why many facilities can provide this examination either for free or at a low cost. Doing so will let you know at once whether you should have sex with this person or not, and vice versa.
Use Brand-New Needles Only
You should take note of the fact that human immunodeficiency virus does not merely get transmitted via sexual intercourse. Even an individual who has not been in bed with anyone for years can acquire the disease if, for some reason, he or she used a needle that an infected fellow already injected to himself or herself. Considering you see one and you are unsure whether it’s brand-new or not, you cannot leave your future to fate and still utilize that needle. Always make sure that you use one that’s fresh out of its sealed packaging.
Take HIV-Preventing Drugs
In special cases in which you cannot prevent having sex with different partners – e.g., you work in an adult industry – a wise tip to lower your chances of getting HIV is to take drugs that may counter the effects of the virus. Only a doctor can prescribe pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and you will likely need to take medication on a daily basis.
Won’t it be great if the number of HIV-infected individuals no longer increase in the coming years? Share and learn about prevention of sexually transmitted diseases now.