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
Please, reach out and share with others, ask questions.
You will be helping others as well as yourself.