6 Ways to Help When Living with an HIV-Positive Family Member


Living with an HIV-positive member of the family can provide you ample alternative to help the one you love.
Despite widespread misconceptions, HIV isn’t transmissible by way of shared bites of meals or ingesting from the identical cup, sneezing close by, or hugging.
The virus is transmissible by way of blood and genital secretions, says Jon McGarry, MD, medical director of MISTR. This gay-owned-and-operated telehealth platform affords preventive medicine together with long-term HIV therapy.
“It cannot be spread through casual contact with a friend, family member, or other roommate who is positive,” he says.
What’s extra, solely somebody with a detectable viral load can transmit HIV. Current HIV drugs successfully suppress the virus, making it undetectable.
“This means their risk of transmitting the infection to a negative person is very, very low — even if the negative person comes into contact with that positive person’s bodily fluids,” explains Jae Majors, LMSW, a medical supervisor and therapist at The Gender & Sexuality Therapy Center in New York City.

Acknowledge and validate the one you love’s expertise

Acknowledge and validate the one you love’s expertise
“These days, thanks to modern-day HIV medication, most patients live normal and healthy lives with HIV,” says Jared Braunstein, DO, with Medical Offices of Manhattan.
As it goes, folks dwelling with HIV have an identical life expectancy to individuals who don’t.
But as a result of misinformation round HIV abounds, an HIV prognosis can rock somebody’s world. If somebody you like not too long ago examined constructive for HIV, holding house for them is essential.
Although HIV is usually manageable, it’s a lifelong situation. Navigating this adjustment could be bodily and emotionally difficult.

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Educate your self about HIV

Educate your self about HIV
If you’ve gotten questions on HIV, keep away from asking the HIV-positive individual in your life. Instead, do your analysis. Kudos, this text is a superb place to begin.
When an individual first finds out they’ve HIV, they should deal with their very own emotional and bodily well-being, says Majors. “Having to worry about educating other people about HIV can be very draining and taxing to a person who’s positive,” he says.
Braunstein recommends testing the next web sites:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
You can even seek the advice of with a healthcare skilled to study extra.
“Most cities will have a community health center where you can get information, as well as pick up literature about HIV,” says McGarry.

Unpack myths and misconceptions about HIV

Unpack myths and misconceptions about HIV
“One of the most common misconceptions people have is that it isn’t safe to live with someone who is HIV-positive,” says McGarry. The actuality is that it’s secure to reside with HIV-positive relations, roommates, or mates.
Another false impression about HIV is that it solely impacts homosexual males or males who’ve intercourse with males. But HIV isn’t restricted to anyone gender, sexuality, or anatomy.
It’s a virus that anybody can contract in the event that they expertise publicity to blood, semen, or vaginal fluids containing the virus, says Braunstein.
If the individual dwelling with HIV in your family is queer, and a few a part of you believes they ”requested for it” due to their identification or sexual exercise, you’ve gotten work to do.
You must unlearn internalized homophobia and unpack puritanical beliefs round intercourse, says Kollyn Conrad, founder and government director of Publicly Private, a nonprofit supporting LGBTQIA+ communities.
“If you don’t do the work to unlearn discriminatory beliefs and instead choose to lay in fear and hate, you’re going to hold yourself back from truly understanding HIV or actually supporting your family member or roommate with it,” he says.

6 Ways to Help When Living with an HIV-Positive Family Member dietbab healthinfo

Develop a method

Develop a method
An excellent factor an HIV-positive individual can do to concurrently prioritize their very own well being and scale back the prospect of transmitting the virus is to take suppression medicine, says Braunstein.
Beyond that, there are a couple of precautions your mixed-status family can put into observe.
“If the HIV family member or roommate uses medicines that require needles, there must be a sharps container in the home for safe disposal of the used needles,” he says.
Also, have a primary help package stocked with latex gloves and disinfectant.
“If the HIV-positive person were to sustain a bad cut that bled and needed help, [you] would want to put on protective latex or vinyl clothes before caring for them,” explains Braunstein.
“Really though, there are no other precautions that need to be taken regarding household management, cleaning, or waste management,” he says.

Consider taking preexposure prophylaxis

Consider taking preexposure prophylaxis
Some folks embody their companions and their companions’ companions of their definition of household.
If you or a companion are in a sexual relationship with an HIV-positive individual in your home, it’s essential to get examined for HIV.
If you check damaging, you would possibly think about preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP), says Michelle Forcier, MD, a gender-affirming clinician with digital healthcare service FOLX.
PrEP is a each day oral medicine that may assist scale back your likelihood of contracting HIV for those who expertise publicity to the virus, she explains.
“Medicines like PrEP help to strengthen the emotional bond between partners in serodiscordant relationships,” says Concord.
Serodiscordant or mixed-status relationships happen when one individual is HIV-positive and the others are HIV-negative.
“They help alleviate the worry of transmission,” he says.

Keep speaking about it

Keep speaking about it
“As a family member and other loved one of a person with HIV, you play a critical supporting role,” says Concord.
Your help is what’ll give them the consolation and confidence they should proceed prioritizing their general well being, navigating HIV therapy, and their relationships exterior the home, he explains.
If you haven’t already, discuss with your loved ones or family member about what help they’d like.
You would possibly ask or recommend:
”How do you’re feeling about receiving textual content reminders to take your medicine?”
”Would you want me to take you to your appointments?”
”Who are you sharing your change in standing with?”
”Can I ship you any info I find out about HIV?”
It’s essential to maintain displaying up for your self, too. Learning {that a} liked one resides with HIV could be tough, particularly given how society has used worry to warn towards the an infection.
It’s pure to really feel careworn, scared, or in any other case overwhelmed. You would possibly think about speaking with a psychological well being skilled about your emotions or becoming a member of a help group for folks with HIV-positive family members.

The backside line

The backside line
HIV-negative folks can — and do! — reside safely with HIV-positive relations or roommates. HIV isn’t transmissible by way of ”informal” contact, so there’s no purpose to keep away from shared areas or surfaces.
Instead, use this chance to point out your help for the one you love.
Gabrielle Kassel (she/her) is a queer intercourse educator and wellness journalist who’s dedicated to serving to folks really feel the very best they will of their our bodies. In addition to knowledgeable, her work has appeared in publications resembling Shape, Cosmopolitan, Well+Good, Health, Self, Women’s Health, Greatist, and extra! In her free time, Gabrielle could be discovered teaching CrossFit, reviewing pleasure merchandise, mountain climbing along with her border collie, or recording episodes of the podcast she co-hosts known as Bad In Bed. Follow her on Instagram @Gabriellekassel.

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