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


Living with an HIV-positive member of the household can present you ample various to assist the one that you love.
Despite frequent misconceptions, HIV isn’t transmissible by shared bites of meals or consuming from the similar cup, sneezing shut by, or hugging.
The virus is transmissible by blood and genital secretions, says Jon McGarry, MD, medical director of MISTR. This gay-owned-and-operated telehealth platform provides preventive treatment along with long-term HIV treatment.
“It cannot be spread through casual contact with a friend, family member, or other roommate who is positive,” he says.
What’s further, solely someone with a detectable viral load can transmit HIV. Current HIV medicines efficiently 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 scientific supervisor and therapist at The Gender & Sexuality Therapy Center in New York City.

Acknowledge and validate the one that you love’s experience

Acknowledge and validate the one that you love’s experience
“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, people dwelling with HIV have an similar life expectancy to people who don’t.
But on account of misinformation spherical HIV abounds, an HIV evaluation can rock someone’s world. If someone you are eager on recently examined constructive for HIV, holding home for them is important.
Although HIV is often manageable, it’s a lifelong state of affairs. Navigating this adjustment is likely to be bodily and emotionally troublesome.

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Educate your self about HIV

Educate your self about HIV
If you would have questions on HIV, steer clear of asking the HIV-positive particular person in your life. Instead, do your evaluation. Kudos, this textual content is an efficient place to start.
When a person first finds out they’ve HIV, they need to consider their very personal 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 subsequent websites:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
You might search the recommendation of with a healthcare expert to be taught further.
“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 safe to dwell with HIV-positive family members, roommates, or mates.
Another misunderstanding about HIV is that it solely impacts gay males or males who’ve intercourse with males. But HIV isn’t restricted to anyone gender, sexuality, or anatomy.
It’s a virus that anyone can contract within the occasion that they experience publicity to blood, semen, or vaginal fluids containing the virus, says Braunstein.
If the person dwelling with HIV in your loved ones is queer, and some part of you believes they ”requested for it” because of their identification or sexual train, you would have work to do.
You should unlearn internalized homophobia and unpack puritanical beliefs spherical intercourse, says Kollyn Conrad, founder and govt 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.

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Develop a way

Develop a way
An wonderful issue an HIV-positive particular person can do to concurrently prioritize their very personal effectively being and cut back the potential for transmitting the virus is to take suppression treatment, says Braunstein.
Beyond that, there are only a few precautions your mixed-status household can put into apply.
“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 major assist tools 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 people embrace their companions and their companions’ companions of their definition of family.
If you or a confederate are in a sexual relationship with an HIV-positive particular person in your personal house, it’s essential to get examined for HIV.
If you check out unfavourable, you might bear in mind preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP), says Michelle Forcier, MD, a gender-affirming clinician with digital healthcare service FOLX.
PrEP is a day-to-day oral treatment that will help cut back your probability of contracting HIV within the occasion you experience 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 occur when one particular person is HIV-positive and the others are HIV-negative.
“They help alleviate the worry of transmission,” he says.

Keep talking about it

Keep talking about it
“As a family member and other loved one of a person with HIV, you play a critical supporting role,” says Concord.
Your assistance is what’ll give them the comfort and confidence they need to proceed prioritizing their basic effectively being, navigating HIV treatment, and their relationships exterior the house, he explains.
If you haven’t already, talk about together with your family members or member of the family about what assist they’d like.
You might ask or advocate:
”How do you are feeling about receiving textual content material reminders to take your treatment?”
”Would you need me to take you to your appointments?”
”Who are you sharing your change in standing with?”
”Can I ship you any information I discover out about HIV?”
It’s obligatory to take care of displaying up in your self, too. Learning {{that a}} favored one resides with HIV is likely to be robust, notably given how society has used concern to warn in the direction of the an an infection.
It’s pure to actually really feel burdened, scared, or in every other case overwhelmed. You might bear in mind talking with a psychological effectively being expert about your feelings or turning into a member of a assist group for people with HIV-positive members of the family.

The bottom line

The bottom line
HIV-negative people can — and do! — dwell safely with HIV-positive family members or roommates. HIV isn’t transmissible by ”casual” contact, so there’s no trigger to steer clear of shared areas or surfaces.
Instead, use this opportunity to level out your assist for your loved one.
Gabrielle Kassel (she/her) is a queer intercourse educator and wellness journalist who’s devoted to serving to people actually really feel the simplest they may of their our our bodies. In addition to educated, her work has appeared in publications paying homage to Shape, Cosmopolitan, Well+Good, Health, Self, Women’s Health, Greatist, and additional! In her free time, Gabrielle is likely to be found instructing CrossFit, reviewing pleasure merchandise, mountaineering collectively 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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