Guest Author - Jontay Watson
First thing you need to do is take a deep breath. You just had your entire world turned upside down. Your mind is racing. Your emotions cycling at the speed of sound; anger, frustration, rage, shock, disbelief, anger, confusion, oh yea and did I say anger already? Your mind has already asked why me a thousand times in the last few seconds. The first thing to understand is that HIV/AIDS can happen to anyone. HIV/AIDS is not a respecter of persons. Number two to realize is that you can live a normal and healthy life even though you have HIV/AIDS. If anything, now you have to take better care of yourself and be more cautious with your sex life.
One of the most essential things that you will have to do is to find an HIV/AIDS specialist. This is someone who is well versed in the world of HIV/AIDS. They are knowledgeable of all the trends, nuances, medications and complications that come with the world of HIV/AIDS. They will be able to walk you by the hand down the road to a healthy and normal life. A specialist will help you decide whether now the time to start medications or not. They will explain everything you need to know about the disease and how it affects you. They will send you off for all the necessary blood work. They will send you to see any specialist if needed. In short, makes sure you develop a working relationship with your HIV/AIDS specialist as they will be your lifeline for the years to come. There are various programs available if you do not have any insurance. You can google the internet for clinics or find a case manager who specializes in working with those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. They will be able to point you in the right direction.
The next thing that you want to do is find a support group or therapist to talk to about your new found condition. I know it may not seem like it but talking your way through this time is vital. Depression is high among those who have HIV/AIDS, especially in those who are newly diagnosed. You may think you are able to handle your emotions on your own and that may be the case but it doesn’t hurt to talk to people who have been where you are at and survived. Finding a local support group will allow you a chance to give voice to your feelings in an accepting and safe environment.
Next, make sure you have a strong support system around you. This is also a crucial part of being newly diagnosed. You need people around you that will support you through this difficult transition. You will have good days and you will have days that seem like the end of all times. Your support system can be family, friends, therapist, support group members, a mentor or anyone who will be able to help you find your way should you become lost.
Another thing you should do is educate yourself. Don't settle for hearsay, read a few books, question your doctor(s). Do not rely on the internet for your information. There are too many websites out there and not all of them are factual. Anyone can develop a website that looks official. You need to get your information from someone who knows what they are talking about. You need facts, not fiction; truth not hearsay!
Don’t beat yourself up for prolonged periods of time. We all go through the phase of criticizing our past actions. Hind sight is 20/20. If we knew then what we know now… The point is you are here now with this diagnosis and nothing can change that. The important thing is to find out how to live well from this point on.
Know that having HIV/AIDS is not a death sentence. You can live. You can live well. You can live normally.
The virus lives with you. YOU DO NOT LIVE WITH THE VIRUS!!!