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HIV Support groups and self study: It is not easy to receive test results that reveal that you are HIV positive. Before you inform anyone close to you about your status you should come to terms with it first and by joining an HIV support group and doing online research is essential.
There are millions of people living with HIV; you can research HIV and inform yourself about the disease. You will find many stories from people who have contracted the disease and they are still living happy and fulfilled lives. The key is to harness control of the disease and not let it grip the life from you. HIV Support groups offer a wealth of information and at the same time bring you into contact with other HIV positive people living happy and fulfilled lives.
If you have received the test results from your doctor ask him or her to provide you with further information on the topic. Also mention how you feel as it will help you release some of the anxiety and stress from hearing that you are HIV positive. Many doctors will recommend you to see a counsellor or confide in someone closest to you. It is also important for you to disclose as much personal information about your sexual history as it will reveal how you could have possibly become infected. If you have a sexual partner you would need to inform him or her and they should be tested.
Like anything in life information is power that will set you free. Clinics and online forums can help you understand the disease and it will provide you with the opportunity to express your emotions. The fact that there are many people living with HIV can help you receive support from them.
When you are ready to disclose your HIV status consider who you will tell, how you will say it and where. This is personal so share the news in a comfortable and safe space. Think of individuals who have always loved you despite your wrong doings. This can be a close friend, a family member, someone from your religious background. The people who love and accept you for who you are, are the ones who will provide you with the love and support you require.
Once you have educated yourself about your HIV status tthrough support groups and reading and you have disclosed the information to people who you trust and love then you will realise that you can continue living your life. HIV lowers the strength of your immune system. By taking antiretroviral medication, having supportive medical insurance, eating healthy, going for regular check-ups and exercising regularly will help you take control of the disease.
Some of the support groups you can get in touch with.
For Gay men living with HIV Cape Town based and Online- Health4Men
National support forums – Hiv support
Norwood JHB – Community Aids Response (CARE)
Telefriend Ministries A South African telephone counselling service for HIV positive people and others in need of minisytry based on Christian principles.
The AIDS Foundation of South Africa A registered non-profit organisation based in Durban, South Africa.
The Children’s Rights Centre If you have an HIV positive child
Community Aids Response Uplifting and upholding the dignity of individuals and communities regardless of health and economic status
NG Church Hall – Linden: 44 5th Street, Linden:
The dates for these meetings for the year (subject to change, so always check on the site) are as follows:
18:00 – 20:30
- 8 February
- 8 March
- 12 April
- 10 May
- 14 June
- 12 July
- 16 August
- 13 September
- 11 October
- 8 November
- 09 December (Joint areas year end social)