Taking an HIV test can be very stressful, let alone getting positive HIV test results. People tend to focus solely on the risks of being HIV positive on the life and livelihood of individuals and society.
Appreciate the fact that HIV-positive status cannot stop you from living a healthy life. With braveness from the HIV-positive individual and proper treatment and care plan, the individual can expect to leave just as long as someone who is not HIV positive.
Symptoms and effects of Stress after a Positive HIV/AIDS Results
Generally, stress can present and affect you in many ways, and it can affect you in different dimensions – your physical, mental, psychological, and emotional health. Stomach upset, tiredness, headaches, sleep problems, loss of weight, and heart palpitations are some of the physical effects of stress.
In addition, prolonged stress can cause heart disease, weakened immunity, and high blood pressure. It can also lead to drug abuse, anxiety, forgetfulness, lack of appetite, poor eating habits, restlessness, social withdrawal, and irritability. In short, the symptoms and effects of stress are widespread.
Causes of Stress for HIV/AIDS Patients
Stress is defined as a state of mental, physical, and emotional tension resulting from adverse circumstances. Though stress is a normal reaction, it is important to know how to handle its negative effects on the physical body.
Knowing your HIV-positive status can be traumatic, and if not well checked, some people can resort to tragic actions. This should not be the case as HIV-positive status is a normal health status that an individual can easily cope with as a new normal.
Some of the reasons why people living with HIV can experience increased levels of stress include:
- Stigma by people around the HIV patient
- Shame about the HIV-positive status
- Changes in occupations
- Managing a lifetime medication routine
- Change in financial status
- Fear and anxiety by the HIV patient
- Denial is part of the first reaction; some patients hardly believe they have HIV.
- Anger with the partner suspected to have infected the person.
How to Handle Stress after Positive HIV/AIDS Results
One important aspect of stress in people is that stress is personal and unique to individuals. When a person experiences stress, it is important first to recognize it then handle it. Some of the ways how to manage stress after a positive HIV/AIDS or any STD test results include:
Identifying the source of the stress: HIV/AIDS patients can have several reasons for experiencing stress, such as anger and denial. For example, if the patient is angry with the person they believe infected them with the virus, it is advisable to accept whatever had taken place and forgive.
Also, being HIV positive is a reality the patient cannot change. It is advisable for the person living with HIV to accept things they cannot change and leave happily.
Learning to ignore the unnecessary stressors: Another key reason people living with HIV/AIDS have additional stress compared to those with no virus is stigma. Stigma is an external stressor.
Once you have accepted your HIV status, live happily with it and not concentrate on what other people say about your HIV-positive status. It is up to them to mind your business. They are losers! Say “no” to concentration on negative external energies directed to your personal life.
Mastering effective time management skills: One of the stressors for HIV/AIDS patients is distress in managing the HIV medication regimen and numerous consultations. Take it easy. Manage your time properly, and you will find it so easy.
Even under a very tight schedule, you can take your time to plan your daily, weekly, and monthly objectives while integrating HIV medication and consultations as part of your daily and long-term activities. Being organized will help you succeed and leave healthily more than even most people who are HIV negative.
Being HIV positive is even an additional positive reason to leave healthily. Enjoy the game by setting a daily goal of good health. Invest in a nutritious diet, adequate sleep, regular exercises, and more social adventures, and stress shall be firmly under your control and authority.
Taking time trying physical activity: Physical activities keep you active while making your immune system strong and improving your lifestyle. When saddened, upset, or nervous, do exercise or any physical activity such as walking, yoga, and riding a bicycle. Such kinds of physical activity will help you release tension and be strong.
Allocating time for relaxation and fun daily: Maintaining mental health has an overall positive impact on individual health and wellbeing. The best way to keep your physical, mental, psychological, and emotional health is daily fun and relaxation.
So, by prioritizing relaxation and fun, the deal about your stress management is as good as done. You can relax in the open-air field, take a thirty-minute walk, and give yourself a break from routine responsibilities. Enjoy going to the cinemas, reading, and listening to music. All these activities will boost your mental and psychological health.
Talking out about your stress and stressors: share with your trusted friends, family members, counselors, and healthcare professionals about your worries and concerns about your HIV status. They will help and support you cope with your diagnosis. You can even reach out to HIV/AIDS organizations, and they shall provide you with the comprehensive mental health and psychosocial support you need.
Learning new ways of handling a positive HIV/AIDS results is key to healthy living. Accept HIV-positive status as your new normal and enjoy your life to the fullest. In addition to the industry’ best accuracy false-positives are easily recognized by the testing facility,
so yes it makes sense to go and get tested with HIV RNA instead of 4th gen antibody tests.