How to support someone living with HIV/AIDS
Whether you’re caring for a partner, family member or friend with HIV, there are a few things you can do to help them:
- Listen. An HIV diagnosis can feel like the world has been turned upside-down. Listen to their concerns and fears, as well as their hopes for the future.
- Educate yourself. If your partner has been diagnosed, you will need to take extra precautions to avoid getting HIV.
- Remember that they are the same person as before the diagnosis. They will still enjoy the same activities and should eventually expect to have the same hopes for the future. Your life together can get back to virtually normal, especially if the person follows the treatment plan.
- Help them take their medication as directed. This will ensure that HIV has a minimal impact on your lives.
Take care of yourself
- If your sexual partner has been diagnosed with HIV, you also need to get tested. If you test negative, talk to your doctor about ways to prevent exposure.
- Until your partner’s viral load has become undetectable, be careful to avoid any exposure to the virus—apart from sexual transmission, you also need to avoid sharing items like toothbrushes, razors, etc. Also, handle any exposed items with gloves.
- Get support if you need it. Sometimes you may need to talk about your own fears and concerns, and a support group can be very helpful in expressing your feelings without feeling guilty.
- Keep healthy. Taking care of your own health will ensure you can be the best support possible for your partner or family member when they need you.