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.
“We are all wired with a need and a desire for encouragement. Without it, we often falter, give up, become depressed, and feel invisible,” writes Karen Riddell J.D.
- 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.
“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.
- 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.
“Stigma prevents people from getting tested for HIV. Stigma prevents people from coming to the clinic and engaging in care. Stigma leads to social isolation and chronic stress, both of which increase mortality for all people, not just people living with HIV,” writes Parker Hudson, M.D.
- 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.