Global Efforts to Eradicate HIV

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Counseling For HIV Patients

Soon after my high school graduation, I asked my parents to let me move to the dormitory at Princeton a month before the semester began to acclimate myself to my new surroundings. They deemed it reasonable, so we hauled most of my belongings the next day.

I was surprised when I saw that my roommate already moved in before I did. Later, I realized that my roommate – Jim – was a junior, and he stayed at the dormitory throughout summer break to work on his thesis.

I instantly had a crush on Jim, but I tried not to make it too obvious. I was not sure about his gender preference back then; I did not want things to be awkward between us if he ended up turning me down. However, one evening that we returned from a party, Jim kissed me square in the mouth.

I thought of pushing him away for a split second, but I chose to give in eventually. I mean, that was my crush showing me that he liked me back! When Jim started getting handsy, I allowed him to take the lead and made sure that he had protection before turning from roommates to lovers.

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Blossoming Romance

Jim and I proceeded to have a relationship after that wonderful night. He confessed to liking me ever since I arrived, and I did the same. I initially feared that the other guys at the dorm would say something awful about it, but they were quite supportive of us. “Just keep it quiet so that we can all study,” one of them joked.

When Jim got his Bachelor’s degree, I was saddened by the thought of him leaving me there. However, he surprised me by saying that he got accepted to the graduate program and would continue to stay in the dorm for two more years.

But then, the winter break came on my last year in Princeton. I could no longer come up with excuses for why I had to stay in the dorm for Christmas, so I went home and left Jim to continue doing his dissertation, thinking that being apart for a week would do our relationship no harm.

Once I returned to the dormitory, Jim was all over me before I could fully shut the door, saying he missed me badly. I let him continue and even matched his intensity. At that point, I did not need to ask if he had condoms – he should have known it after all those years. We went on to do it a few more times than usual. When I teased Jim about it, he grinned and said that’s how much he missed me.

Withering Romance

A month later, Jim had a fever. I took care of him, thinking it was a minor flu. When he continued to have fever in the next couple of days without the other symptoms of flu, I brought him to the doctor despite his protests. The doctor ruled out the flu and proceeded to get blood samples from Jim to find out what’s causing the fever.

In the same afternoon that the results arrived, we were both gravely surprised when the doctor revealed that Jim was HIV positive. I was confused because we were exclusively dating, and we always used protection. Then, it hit me.

“Did you have sex with someone else on winter break?” I asked Jim, oblivious of the doctor in front of us.

“Yes,” Jim replied in a small voice, unable to meet my eyes.

“Did you do it bareback?”

“Yes,” he said.

“Did you do me without condoms when I returned?”

This time, Jim looked at me with pleading eyes. “I’m so sorry. I’m sorry,” he kept repeating.

I did not know what to do or say after that. The doctor advised me to get tested to be sure that I did not contract the same virus from Jim. Much to my dismay, though, I did. My boyfriend gave me HIV.

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Mulling Things Over

Jim ran after me when we left the doctor’s office, but I stopped him when my clenched fist hit his jaw. It was smart of him not to return to the dorm that night. I managed to pack all my belongings, use my savings to pay for a tiny apartment on the other side of the campus, and move out of the dorm before sunrise.

I did not know how to deal with the fact that I had a sexually transmitted disease. I never slept around; I had only been with one man my entire life. This HIV was the last thing I deserved to get for my faithfulness.

I called the doctor again to schedule an appointment with him and make sure that I would not be in the same vicinity as Jim. Luckily, the doctor understood the situation. When I visited his office to get my new medication, he advised me to get counseling to deal with everything.

I thought about it and decided I wasn’t ready for anyone to see me with a counselor, so I chose to try online counseling.

What is the purpose of the counseling? 

 Counseling’s purpose is to:

  • Help clients with goal identification
  • Teach new coping mechanism skills
  • Improve communication skills
  • Lift a person’s self-esteem
  • Promote positive behavioral and cognitive changes

What are the benefits of online counseling? 

  • It is ideal for people who do not have counselors in town or cannot meet one in person due to physical disabilities.
  • It allows individuals to continue receiving mental health treatment virtually.
  • It is more affordable than in-person counseling.

How does e Counselling work? 

 E-counseling typically starts when you sign up to a specific platform and choose your counselor and the ideal method of communication. What’s excellent about e-counseling is that the client can connect with the mental health professional through e-mails, texts, calls, and even video chats. Once both aspects have been settled, the client and the counselor may agree on a specific time and date(s) for the online counseling session(s).

What is the meaning of e Counselling? 

 E-counseling refers to a new yet controversial form of counseling that allows licensed counselors to provide mental health services through the internet.

Which online therapy is best? 

 Talkspace may be the best online therapy provider.

How do you do online Counselling? 

  • Ensure that you are allowed to provide counseling in various states.
  • Learn about platform policies when it comes to doing online counseling.
  • Be realistic about the mental health issues that you can take on without meeting the client in person.
  • Whatever information you ask from the client, make an effort to explain to them why you need it.
  • Let the clients know that the platform may offer 24/7 support, but not you. You can go as far as telling them the best time to contact you and how.

Is online therapy secure? 

 Online therapy’s safety depends on the platform that you decide to use. For instance, if it looks shady from the beginning and does not have reliable security protocols, it may not be safe. The key is to read everything about the platform to know how they secure clients’ sensitive information.

What are ethical issues in therapy? 

  • Defining and keeping boundaries
  • Admitting when the therapist cannot help the client and referring them to a mental health professional who can do that
  • Setting aside personal issues while dealing with clients
  • Securing clients’ personal details
  • Respecting clients’ beliefs and backgrounds
  • Deciding whether to inform the authorities regarding their clients or not

How do you get therapy if you can’t afford it? 

 Medicaid and local training institutes may provide therapy to people who cannot afford it.

Do I really need therapy? 

 Every individual with deep-seated mental issues needs therapy. You may benefit from doing it if you have been diagnosed with a mental disorder.

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Final Thoughts

The process was challenging, but I ended up forgiving Jim. I believed he did not intend to transmit the disease to me; he was also a victim himself. Despite that, I forbade him from coming near me again for my peace of mind.

I came clean to my parents soon after that. I was ready for them to lash out and disown me at that time. Instead, they hugged me and told me that they would support me 100%.

Thanks to my online counselors, my mind became clear enough to realize that my world would not end due to one incurable disease.

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