“It’s no longer a death sentence, you can live a happy and healthier life.” When your newly introduced to hiv, that’s what they sit down and tell you, it’s the opening pitch to a surreal reality series that has taken a seriously wrong turn. I remember getting that speech and kinda feeling your actually saying this to me like I can just live life normally again. I happened to be working and went outside and I got a call asking me if I had received any services, been seen for my new hiv status, I told her I had been seen, and she just talked to me going over questions and I felt that I was holding her hand and walking her through it even though she had talked to people before.
The thing that I think that stood out the most was that I even though I had heard the line it isn’t a death sentence anymore I told her, emotionally it was. I don’t feel that there is a key prime focus on just that, what we go through in that moment, of what’s next. Just being aware of a crucial part of your job, to De-escalate any bad thing going on in our heads. All we have ever know is Hiv/Aids this grand monolithic monster that once it has a hold of you it never let’s you go. People run like it’s an invasion and so much has changed, I won’t deny that, but what never changes is being told you have Hiv and how it becomes that moment when everything around you stops and just dies all at once.
What should always be the focus is how to address the emotional needs of the person right then and there. Even if someone doesn’t want to talk, have a counselor or on site therapist just in case. I have read accounts where people just felt abandoned when they were hurting the most. I feel that with bringing more people to the light of Hiv that we don’t loose our humanity in the process, we’re not just numbers and statistics on your screen were people seeking long-term care. Before you use the line it’s no longer a death sentence, how about you address how I and so many others feel instead.