I was found to be HIV positive and was surprised because I have had only one boyfriend and when we tested one year ago we were both HIV negative.
Dear doctor, I have just joined a new institution to study and as a routine, we were encouraged to test for HIV, which I did. I was found to be HIV positive and was surprised because I have had only one boyfriend and when we tested one year ago we were both HIV negative.
What is bothering me most, however, is how to break the news to my family. I fear they will abuse me and mistreat me because when we have been talking about HIV, most of them feel people who live irresponsibly are the ones who get infected with the disease in this era.
Dear Rebecca, if you feel you are not yet ready to disclose your HIV status to your family; then you can wait.
It would only be urgent if there were risk of you infecting any of them and if their knowing would reduce that risk.
Disclosure to family is mainly for support but if you feel it will have the opposite effect then such disclosure will not be beneficial.
You, however, seem to be having self-stigma, which can only be overcome by learning the facts about HIV.
For example you and your family seem to have the belief that people who get infected with HIV are irresponsible people who deserve no sympathy at all and yet as you have realized you are not such a person.
HIV related stigma is majorly premised on myths and misconceptions about the disease and the best remedy for it is correct information.
Once you know what causes HIV and AIDS, how the disease is transmitted plus what can be done to help you once you are infected; you will be empowered and stop living in fear and shame the way you are now.
Lastly, seek to be registered with a credible HIV care centre, where you will receive the much needed counseling and relevant treatment including being started on ARVs at the right time; so that you can live a good quality life in spite of living with HIV.
Question answered by Dr. Steven Watiti