A friend found out he was HIV +

  • MUSCLEMADNESS

    Posts: 4

    Dec 29, 2012 12:44 PM GMT
    A world of reality just hit me like a ton of bricks. A good friend of mine called to tell me recently found out he was HIV +. He does live quite a distance away, so driving to see him is not as easy as I would like it to be. I thought I post this to ask, how can I be a good friend to him and show support? I know there is going to be a myraid of emotions he's going to go through, or not for that matter. Does anyone have any advice on this?
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    Dec 29, 2012 2:57 PM GMT
    Those with HIV report that others sometime begin avoiding them after their diagnosis. People with terminal diseases like cancer also experience this social isolation, to which HIV adds the irrational fear of contagion in some poorly informed individuals.

    Reasons may have to do with being uncomfortable in the presence of a serious illness that could lead to death, even though HIV survival rates are becoming very favorable. Some of us don't want to be reminded of our own mortality, and also try to avoid situations that are emotionally upsettling to us.

    Therefore an HIV+ person can be comforted by friends who don't drop them, but maintain the same level of involvement with them as before. And not treating them like they're a "dead man walking" or have become too fragile to continue their normal routines. Unless AIDS develops most patients can go on with their lives as before, many at the same intensity & pace as previously, so don't baby them.

    And with prompt and regular treatment patients are surviving for so long that some experts now prefer to term HIV a chronic illness rather than an invariably terminal one. If your friend is getting medical advice and treatment it's likely he's already being told this.
  • MUSCLEMADNESS

    Posts: 4

    Dec 29, 2012 3:17 PM GMT
    My friend is a very knowledgable person and has been seeking medical advice. It also helps that he is in the medical field himself. I did take a few things from your post, so thank you for your reply.
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    Dec 29, 2012 4:30 PM GMT
    I'd say keep in touch, check in on him regularly and let him know that you love him and he's a very special friend and that you're there for him. You're a part of his support system and this is when he needs you the most. Maybe even shoot him a card in the mail just to brighten his day next week, nothing too mushy, just something to let him know you're thinking of him and he means a lot to you.
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    Dec 29, 2012 4:32 PM GMT
    eb925guy saidI'd say keep in touch, check in on him regularly and let him know that you love him and he's a very special friend and that you're there for him. You're a part of his support system and this is when he needs you the most. Maybe even shoot him a card in the mail just to brighten his day next week, nothing too mushy, just something to let him know you're thinking of him and he means a lot to you.


    Nothing to add
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    Dec 29, 2012 4:33 PM GMT
    Just keep reminding him that you are there for him and that you love him.
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    Dec 29, 2012 4:37 PM GMT
    minox said
    eb925guy saidI'd say keep in touch, check in on him regularly and let him know that you love him and he's a very special friend and that you're there for him. You're a part of his support system and this is when he needs you the most. Maybe even shoot him a card in the mail just to brighten his day next week, nothing too mushy, just something to let him know you're thinking of him and he means a lot to you.


    Nothing to add
    Yeah this is good stuff.

    OP: awesome post, and it says a lot of good things about you that you would want to seek out opinions on this. Good luck - your friend is lucky to have people like you in his network.
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    Dec 29, 2012 4:44 PM GMT
    Show him that you care. Call him up occasionally and see how he is. SAY that youre worried and care for him. This means a lot. Usually he would need a hug. Consolate him. Refer to a psychologist to go throught that will help as well. In a way, this will make him a stronger person in the end but will need to to get there.
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    Dec 29, 2012 4:54 PM GMT
    Continue to reassure your friend that he can live a long, healthy life. Hope is not lost. I have lived with HIV for 28 years now. Never thought I'd live to age 47...but I have.

    For reliable medical and other information: Seek out an HIV specialist. Use thebody.com for other research. Become a client of the local HIV/AIDS services organization.
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    Dec 29, 2012 6:04 PM GMT
    GAMRican saidContinue to reassure your friend that he can live a long, healthy life. Hope is not lost.



    QFT. HIV is not a death sentence anymore.
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    Dec 29, 2012 6:08 PM GMT
    OP, just be there for him. He has a lot of research and stuff to go through, when to go on meds, which meds, he is smart enough to have a good professional team on his side. He will be fine, in fact better than fine. It will be a fast learning curve for him and he will come out ok. But he has to go through it, sadly. Learn what you can be there by asking him how he doing, what he has decided, what the doctors have said. Just you showing your love and support will mean more than you ever know.
  • Suetonius

    Posts: 1842

    Dec 29, 2012 7:35 PM GMT
    eb925guy saidI'd say keep in touch, check in on him regularly and let him know that you love him and he's a very special friend and that you're there for him. You're a part of his support system and this is when he needs you the most. Maybe even shoot him a card in the mail just to brighten his day next week, nothing too mushy, just something to let him know you're thinking of him and he means a lot to you.

    Generally, yes. Maybe be more available to him. But in the long run, treat him like you would any of your other friends. Unless and until he develops any major health problems, he would probably appreciate it if you don't treat him as being "wounded." If you plan trips together (skiing, mountaineering, or just plain travel), continue to do so, and don't assume he will have any limitations.
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    Dec 29, 2012 7:40 PM GMT
    I do agree with others.. Be there for him, and support him emotionally. Make him realize that too many people with HIV can survive and can have lasting lives. Help him stay positive. I know it can be a hard thing to do, but you should do it
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    Dec 29, 2012 7:47 PM GMT
    You've gotten great advice from the guys above, which I second, third, fourth and fifth . . .
  • MUSCLEMADNESS

    Posts: 4

    Dec 29, 2012 8:12 PM GMT
    Thank you everyone for the advice. You all reiterated what I already am doing, except the card. That's never too late to do. This was a good vindication for me that I'm doing the right things. I appreciate it! Happy New Year everyone.
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    Dec 29, 2012 8:18 PM GMT
    One thing I forgot to mention above is that some newly poz gay men fear they'll never be able to keep a BF or a partner. And I think it does get more challenging for them, since there is a lot of dating discrimination against HIV+.

    I won't debate the reasons for negative guys avoiding the poz, just that it happens. So that dating support is another area where this friend may need some help, in order to avoid another source of depression (assuming he does want to date).

    And to know that there are couples who are both poz, or only one of them is. I was one such myself, knowingly partnering with a guy who was already HIV+, while I was negative. So he's not totally out of the running to have a regular love life like others.