Living with HIV
Living with HIV can be challenging. From accepting the diagnosis to building a lifestyle conducive to healthy living, patients sometimes struggle to adjust their daily schedules and routines. At Community Access Network, we have seen these difficulties firsthand. However, it is possible to live a long and healthy life with HIV, and our team is here to help.
What are some specific challenges you may face, and how can you deal with them?
Accept the diagnosis.
It is common and understandable to struggle with accepting the diagnosis of HIV. Learning that you have HIV can be emotionally taxing. The best thing you can do is be kind to yourself. You don’t have to be okay immediately—sometimes, it takes time to process. You might consider reaching out to a professional to help you with this adjustment process. Community Access Network and other members of the Virginia Association of Free and Charitable Clinics offer mental health services that can assist you in navigating through this adjustment.
Find good care.
Good care is critical to your health. Primary care physicians can help, but sometimes it is necessary to find additional caregivers. Working with a team specializing in HIV care can be positive not just for your physical health, but your overall sense of well-being, too. Community Access Network strives to provide our patients with the best care possible, and we are a proud provider of the Ryan White Program. The program helps patients find affordable care options and financial assistance. We are also Lynchburg’s Ryan White Care Clinic and provide comprehensive sexual health services to our community.
Deal with the stigma.
Unfortunately, HIV is surrounded by many stigmas that are perpetuated by misinformation, institutions, laws and our prejudices, to name just a few. One of the best things patients can do is speak with a qualified healthcare professional who can help them understand the difficulties they face. We can’t change how other people treat us, and it’s not our responsibility to do so. But we can address how we react to them, and counseling can give you the tools to process potential issues in a healthy manner.
Do not underestimate how difficult it can be to overcome your own stigma around HIV. It is hard to change the way we think, and the beliefs we have had for years won’t change overnight. This is another reason why speaking with a professional is a good idea. You must be kind to yourself in order to stay healthy and happy, and overcoming internal stigma is a big part of that.
Have you or someone you love been diagnosed with HIV? The diagnosis can be difficult, but there are steps you can take to make the process easier. Finding quality healthcare to care for HIV and your mental health is crucial to a high quality of life. Reach out to Community Access Network today as a partner in your health journey. You can reach us by phone at 434-818-7880 or stop by our clinic. Learn more at https://www.communityaccessnetwork.org/