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Reaching Out


HIV infection causes a major life crisis to say the least.

We face many challenges with this virus. Because HIV is still

misunderstood, we may lose some friends--even family--at a

time when we need them the most. That is why it's so important

for us to be informed about our disease. And our response

to this new challenge can influence our own health and well-being.

It may even effect those around us. If we don't act afraid--they

may not either. I have found it very helpful to search out

others with HIV that can help me go through some of the

stages; emotionally and physically. They can help me to

understand how this disease is going to affect my job,

my livelihood and my relationships with family and friends.

They can share their experiences with situations such as telling

our family members or close friends. Or even our co-workers.

They can share their experiences with some of the new medications

that are being prescribed. We can give support to each other!!

It makes new situations for me a little less stressful if I know

someone else has been in my shoes and survived whatever

I may encounter. There are times when I get deeply depressed

and those around me can help to draw me out of it. When I

am anxious, they can talk me through some of my fears.

I know I am not alone. Reaching out to other people can be

very difficult. For me there is fear of rejection or not getting

my needs met. But if I don't reach out, things grow

into huge big monsters in my head and by avoiding others

I get mentally, emotionally and spiritually sick. And I've already

learned how that effects our bodies.

Keeping my HIV status a secret caused me to feel alone

and isolated. It increased my fear of facing this disease by

myself and dying alone. I realized the risk I took if I told someone.

Most people can't keep secrets and knowing someone personally

who is HIV+ is sometimes the juiciest piece of gossip to go

around in a while. But I finally decided I needed people to know.

I needed to be able to talk about this virus freely and without

whispering and pulling my friends into closed rooms to share

how I was feeling. Ignorance about HIV/AIDS can cause

people to be cruel and ugly. And I have encountered a few

since I decided to come clean about this disease and

not hide it any more.

There are support groups in just about every community for

those infected with the virus. If you can't find one in your area,

the CDC National Aids Hotline can help to find a

support group, HIV counseling or service

organizations 800-342-2437.

Please, reach out and share with others, ask questions.

You will be helping others as well as yourself.