Living with ailments or diseases can be a disheartening, especially when that disease has no known cure to date. Contracting HIV is a serious issue that plagues the African-American community at alarming rates. According to the CDC, the rate of new HIV infection in African Americans is 8 times that of whites based on population size. For many, this diagnosis is the end of a comfortable life as they know it. Living with this disease isn’t an ideal situation for anyone, but once the status is revealed, there is no turning back and one must learn how to cope with the reality of living with HIV. Coping may take some time, but taking these following steps may help.
Come to terms with the diagnosis.
Hearing the words “you tested positive” can be pretty scary once the reality of the situation sets in. In the past before extensive research had taken place, an HIV diagnosis used to immediately take one’s mind to death, but now with more understanding of the disease people can live for many years with HIV while keeping the condition under control. It’s common for a person to be hard on themselves thinking back in retrospect of how this could have been prevented, but acceptance is a first step toward coping and focusing on the rest of your future.
Researching HIV, its symptoms and how to keep things under control is a great way to cope with living with the disease. Learning how to eat and care for the body while living with HIV and having a well-rounded understanding of exactly what is happening to the body will put your mind at ease and help with coping daily.
Find a support group
There are a number of support groups available in person at clinics and medical centers and online for people living with HIV to vent their issues and connect with others who are living in the same situation. Finding a support group in an area that is local will make it easier to find a support system to cope with those tough moments.
Stay on top of treatments
Although there is no current cure for HIV, it can still be managed with medication, diet and regular exercise. Make sure to keep track of doctor’s appointments and speak to your doctor about any changes or discomforts that may arise in your health. Make a schedule for when medications are supposed to be taken and stay on top of refills.
Visit the BlackDoctor.org HIV/AIDS center for more articles.