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Five stages you go through after being diagnosed with HIV

By Faeza
09 December 2016

MANY people find it hard to accept their HIV status. After you test HIV positive, you will experience a lot of emotions and negative thoughts, the main one being, I am going to die. I also felt that way after I was diagnosed in 1996. The journey to accepting your HIV status will come in stages and will be challenging, however, by educating yourself on the disease, you will realise that it is not the end of you.

DENIAL

The first thing you will experience after you test positive for HIV is denial. This is when you tell yourself that it is not true. Among many of the things you will do while in denial is testing at different places hoping for different results. Yet, they will all confirm that you are HIV positive.

ANGER In the second stage of accepting your HIV status, you will experience feelings of anger and hurt. It is only human to feel betrayed, but try not to do anything destructive while you are angry. I drank a lot and took drugs, which led to a life of crime. I regret all of these things because they did damage to my life and health. Some people express their anger by sleeping with others without protection and infect them in the process. That is not the way to go. Having unprotected sex with many people will do you a lot of harm, including getting different strains of the virus. You will be doing more damage to your immune system, which will see you getting sick easily.   BARGAINING

At this stage you will find yourself wondering what if I did this and had not done that? You will regret some of your past relationships, especially your sexual encounters. You will be full of regret. Alongside this bargaining, there will be blame and you will develop a grudge and immense hate. Again, I urge you to do your best not to hurt yourself and those around you.

DEPRESSION

The fourth stage in your journey towards accepting your status is depression. Depression often leads to people taking their own lives. Stress may arise as a result of you feeling hopeless, and will harm your immune system. You might be feeling hopeless about your life and worrying about your family and future. Do your best to look at the bright side.

There are many people living productive lives beyond HIV. Eliminate stress with positive thinking. Even if you cannot completely do away with the stress, try to manage it so that it doesn’t harm you.

ACCEPTANCE

The final stage in your journey is acceptance. You can only reach this stage when you finally acknowledge that you have contracted the virus. There are people who have lived 20, 30 and even 40 years with HIV, and this should be motivation that you too can live with the disease. If Clement can live with HIV for 21 years, so can you. Surround yourself with positive people who also accept your status. Cautiously go through these stages without hurting yourself and those around you. Seek counselling, which will help you come to terms with your status. It will not be an easy process, but you will pull through.