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|10 steps beyond an HIV-positive diagnosis|
|May 27, 2011 00:00|
1. GET GROUNDED
Find support through friends, family, therapists, medical professionals or any combination of these. Without support, taking any additional steps can seem even more difficult and trying. Support groups can help bring a sense of camaraderie and fellowship to a seemingly lonely experience.
2. GUIDE YOUR TONGUE
Not everyone will be supportive. Initially, share this information with those whom you can trust to be uplifting and those whom will help you along your way to treatment and safety.
3. HEALTH CARE
Start identifying ongoing care and treatment resources. This can be a daunting task without help. Testing counselors can point you in the right direction whether you have insurance, a doctor or you need full assistance.
Knowing what ails you can be a great tool in battling the virus. HIV 101 and treatment courses can be a great resource to understanding what the virus is, what lab results actually mean, and what to expect and look for as your body changes, and what treatment options are available.
In Georgia there are laws surrounding the obligation to disclose, and it’s the nice thing to do. Telling previous partners who may have been exposed is a requirement and can also help them to identify early on whether they are infected. Telling current and future partners also reduces their risk of exposure.
Studies show that HIV-positive people who continue to have unprotected sex may actually become infected with a strain of the virus that is resistant to some medications and may cause complications with treatment in the future.
And we don’t mean on the playground. Be aware of your drug, alcohol and tobacco use. These things can have a serious impact on your health and can have devastating consequences for an HIV positive individual.
8. SEX POSITIVE
Having intimate moments does not have to come to an end. Sex can and will still be hot after an HIV-positive diagnosis. Remember to protect yourself since STDs are still a risk and can be more difficult to treat with a compromised immune system. Not to mention, you don’t want to run the risk of potentially passing the infection on to someone else.
Keeping fit and healthy can naturally prolong the quality of life and assist in any ongoing medical treatment. Healthy diet and regular exercise are key to the body’s health in general and can also help eliminate stress.
Having a positive outlook, lowered stress and an increase in coping skills (through support groups, counseling or other means) can leave your body with more energy and resources to handle the infection. Studies have shown that times of lower stress actually correspond to a healthier immune system. Look for programs and services to help you de-stress and get grounded.
Source: Positive Impact / MISTER (Men’s Information Services: Testing, Empowerment, Resources) www.positiveimpact-atl.org
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