10 Tips for People Newly Diagnosed With HIV
Based upon the book 'HIV and Me' by Kozby Kritzer 2004
and revised by Raphael Meyer (Action for AIDS, Singapore)
- To begin healing after the shock of hearing your diagnosis, first acknowledge your fears and feelings about having HIV, and then take ownership of them. Joining a support groups will help in the healing process. Try not to tell the whole world and anyone about your diagnosis during this time as it might be done in haste. Remember there is still much stigma and discrimination about HIV in Singapore so a much as you would like those around you to understand, you must be wary that they might have a hard time to relate. Call Action for Aids and speak to a HIV counsellor there for more help and advice.
- Instead of reliving the past or imagining a grim future for yourself, keep your mind focused on the present as that is where your healing happens. Today's world HIV is a disease that can be managed with the right therapy and medications. People live a normal, healthy and productive life. But understand that feeling down and low is normal. You will get better as time goes on.
- Forget other people's stories with HIV/AIDS and make it your own experience, as what you do each day creates your own future.
- Whenever you feel stressed, filled with anxiety or just plain overwhelmed, stop and focus on your breathing to clear your mind and give it and your body a moment's peace. Close your eyes, count to ten and tell yourself as you exhale you are exhaling the negativity in your life. It helps no matter how funny this action may sound.
- Control the flow of information that you absorb about HIV/AIDS to prevent your mind from either overloading or from slipping into complete denial about your diagnosis. Don't spend every waking moment on reading HIV information and then relating it to you. Most of the information may be irrelevant and even unreliable. Confirm the info with your HIV doctor or HIV counsellor.
- Regardless of your current health status, never forget that you are in complete control of your medical treatment and have the right to change it at any time. You should be informed about your anti-retro viral medication. No one has the authority to dictate to you what you need to take but discuss with your doctor your financial situation and get a second opinion if necessary.
- Use your support network of family, friends and/or counselors to remind yourself that you are not in this alone, and that there are people ready and eager to provide the comfort and compassion that you need right now.
- Once you are feeling more centered, work to build a strong foundation for your future including making lifestyle changes and utilizing community resources available to support your healing and long term health.
- After your foundation is in place, spend some time managing how HIV affects your daily life both in social situations and in respect to financial and legal matters. Talk to a financial counsellor or seek legal advice. AfA has both these services for free. Call and seek the right info for yourself.
- Finally, to complete your journey towards a place of peace with HIV, strive to balance your mind, body and spirit, using activities like exploring your spirituality, doing volunteer work or experiencing holistic therapy if needed. There are Christian, Buddhist and Muslim and other support groups that can cater to your needs. For more info on this call AfA.