As per the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), people who are diagnosed with HIV are more likely to have depression than people without the virus. Due to this, HIV patients may get away from their friends and family to hide their physical and emotional issues.
Providing emotional support to your loved ones is very important in this situation. As they are already suffering a lot, they expect to have emotional support from one who is closer to them. Wondering how you can do so? If yes, let’s find the answer to “how to provide emotional support for HIV patients” together.
What Is HIV?
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). This virus attacks the immune system of the body. If HIV is not treated on time, it may lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).
Currently, there is no effective cure for this. Once the person is diagnosed with HIV, they have it for life. However, if you get proper medical care, you can control HIV. People getting effective treatment for HIV have more chances to live longer and healthier lives.
Symptoms Of HIV
People who are suffering from HIV do not feel symptoms right away, so they may not be aware that they are having HIV. It may take years before HIV makes you feel sick.
Early Symptoms Of HIV
Generally, people feel and look healthy for a long time after infection. It can take about ten years or more for HIV to show any symptoms. That is why you must get tested for HIV, especially if you have shared needles or had unprotected sex. Through HIV treatment, you can keep yourself healthy. Even the treatment can lower the chances of spreading HIV to other people during sex.
In the first few 2-3 weeks, when you get infected with HIV, you may feel achy, feverish, and sick. These flu-like symptoms are the first reaction your body may suffer from when having an HIV infection. At this point, there are many viruses in your system, so it gets really easy to spread HIV to other people. The symptoms of HIV only last for a few weeks, and after that, generally, you will not have symptoms again for years. However, still, HIV can spread to other people whether you have any symptoms or not.
Later HIV Symptoms
HIV destroys the cells in your immune system, such as T cells or CD4 cells. Without CD4 cells, it is difficult for your body to fight diseases. You get sick from infections that generally do not hurt you. As time passes, the damage you get from HIV leads to AIDS.
Things You Can Do To Emotional Support HIV Patients
There are many things that you can do to support your loved ones who have been diagnosed with HIV:
When you get to know your known person is being diagnosed with HIV. It is life-changing news for anyone. In this situation, you should listen to and support your loved ones. Have conversations with them, be open with them, and talk honestly about HIV. The person who is diagnosed with HIV, he/she may not feel like talking. They may not talk or connect with you like they did before until they were diagnosed. Still, be the same with them. Do not make them realize that something has changed in their life. Making them feel that you see them as the same person is important.
Know about HIV. What is HIV, how is HIV treated, and how can people stay healthy while having HIV? Getting educated about HIV is an important step towards supporting your loved ones. It reassures your loved ones that HIV is a manageable condition. Knowledge is good, but remember that your loved one may not be ready for all the information.
Encourage Them To Have The Treatment
Some people who are recently diagnosed with HIV may find it difficult to get HIV treatment. Encourage your loved one to go to the doctor and get HIV treatment as soon as possible. If they don’t know which health care provider they should go to, you can help them to find that one.
Support Them To Take Medication
It is essential for people who are diagnosed with HIV to take their medicine the way prescribed. Ask them how you can help them to help take medicine so that the patient sticks to that routine. Moreover, ask them what other ways they can do to help them or to keep them healthy. Learn tips and tricks to keep your loved ones in the medication routine.
Look For Support
You also have to take care of yourself and, if needed, get support. Take help from others for any concerns, anxieties, or questions you may suffer from. It helps the person who is diagnosed to focus on their health. However, you should always respect the privacy of your loved one with HIV.
How Can You Get Emotional Support For HIV Patients?
It may be a challenging task to seek emotional support for HIV patients. But it is essential to provide support, and for that, you have to follow the following points:
Seek For The Right Person
You may find those people who have experience and are professionals in providing emotional support compared to others. However, this can not provide you the confirmation that will do better care. Go to a good, experienced professional who can offer emotional support in the right manner.
Accept Every Type Of Support
Some people might find it difficult to accept materialistic help such as financial assistance or favors. However, if someone provides you support for free and it makes a difference, don’t hesitate to say yes. Other than that, if your family members and friends fail to provide support, the person in need may take help from the professionals.
If the person cannot express the things that cannot be helped out, it is good to let them be. For example: “I know you want to emotionally support me, but right now, I am not in the position to understand things.” In this situation, you should let that person take his/her time.
Providing emotional support to anyone suffering from HIV is important, whether it be your friend, family member, or partner. Providing emotional support to them may help promote good mental and physical well-being. So, there is nothing to feel ashamed about providing someone with emotional support and receiving one.
The best you can do to emotionally support someone is to listen and encourage the patient. But, for every different individual, you have to try different approaches. You must know and understand their feelings to support that person emotionally.
Diagnosed with HIV and suffering from depression because of it? Alnicor Consulting is here to help you! We help people diagnosed with HIV and bring a positive change in their lives.
Sometimes, the people around us cannot understand what we feel inside and what support we need. Alnicor Consulting provides professional emotional support sessions that are private and safe, as we do not judge the other person’s emotions. From us, you will get hassle-free assistance.