Receiving the news that one’s loved one has been diagnosed as HIV + is of course a shock to one’s system, but even more so for the person who has received the diagnosis.
While it is excruciatingly difficult to hear the news, it is important to show sensitivity and support to the infected person. Be it a partner or a spouse, or even a family member with whom one shares one’s home, it is not unusual to be shaken by the news oneself.
While nobody should suppress their feelings, in such a situation, it is of paramount importance to be strong for one’s loved one. They will look to their spouse, partner and family for support, knowing that one day, they may need to possibly become more dependent upon them.
The family / partner instantly becomes the support system, and thus it is important to stay calm and receive counselling to assist one’s loved one through the process.
Fear is very often based on a lack of knowledge. Thus, acquiring as much information for both the infected person as well as the family, is very necessary. It is important for all to know that being diagnosed is not necessarily a death sentence, and that the person who is HIV + can lead a relatively normal life with an uncompromised lifespan, if he follows the necessary precautions and takes the ARV treatment unfailingly.
Being the support system, it is comforting for the person to know that their loved ones are available to have open conversations. However, one must maintain a fine balance by allowing the infected person to take the lead. They may not always want to talk. They will want to connect with their partner and family in the same way they did before being diagnosed. Of course, it is understandable that initially the need may arise almost constantly to discuss their new status. They need to be shown that they are still seen as they were before the diagnosis, and that they are more than their diagnosis.