My loved one has HIV/AIDS… now what?

Nine ways that God can use you to help your loved one in the challenge of living with HIV!

You just found out that someone you love has HIV.  It may be your brother or your sister.  It may be a close friend or a business colleague.  It may be anyone – but you have found out and you are shocked.

What can I do now?  What should I do?  Isn’t AIDS an incurable disease?  How could it happen to us?  What will people think?

These and many other questions may be going through your mind at this point.

This little write-up is meant to help you make good choices.  It does not have all the answers to every question.  But since we have worked with many people who are living with HIV – and their family members who are helping them – this write-up does give some practical advice to some of the main questions that you will have.

Please feel free to ask further questions.  You will find contact addresses on the side of this web page and at the end of this post.

So…  My loved one has HIV/AIDS – now what?

1. Your loved one is afraid.

Remember – he or she is the one with the disease.  The immediate relatives (if they know already) may be even more fearful.

You can make a difference by telling your loved one you still love them.  Don’t accuse.  Don’t judge.  We have all made mistakes.  Now is the time to accept with all your heart.  Give courage – not more fear!

Having HIV is not the end!  There is so much hope!

2. Get a confirmatory HIV report

One report – esp. from a private lab – is not enough to tell whether a person has HIV.  Make sure your loved one gets a proper HIV anti-body test.  We suggest having it done at any of the Government Integrated Counseling and Testing Centers (ICTCs) which are at each Municipal Hospitals.

Some ICTCs are also found with govt. recognized NGOs such as Jeevan Sahara Kendra and Salvation Army.

3. Start Treatment!

HIV is a disease which has lots of treatments available!  But you must help your loved one get the right kind of HIV treatment. Don’t go to people who say “take this and I will cure you.”

If you are living in the greater Mumbai area the correct HIV Treatment is straight forward (if you are living in other parts of India the same general principles will hold true):

  • Register at the nearest Government Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) Centre – investigations and medicines are free.   The Greater Mumbai Area has ART centres at JJ Hospital, KEM Hospital, Nair Hospital, Godrej Hospital, L+T Health Centre Andheri, Thane Civil Hospital,Central Hospital Ulhasnagar, and NMMC Hospital Vashi,

  • Have a free blood test done to check your loved one’s immunity.  This is called an absolute CD4 Count – and should be done initially and then repeated every 6 months.
  • Check for other diseases such as Tuberculosis.  If your loved one has TB, then get free TB treatment from your nearest Govt. DOTS center.
  • These treatments will really help your loved one.  Tuberculosis treatment needs to be taken for 1 year and ART (Anti-retroviral treatment) is taken life-long.  You can encourage your loved one to take the medicine and make sure they take every dose of the medicine!
  • Your prayers and love and support help the medicines work!  Keep encouraging your loved one to keep their treatments!

4. Encourage disclosure

HIV is too big a disease to be dealt with alone.  Help your loved one share about their HIV status to close family members. Every person living with HIV needs a strong support system.  This can only happen when we tell others about our condition.

It is not easy to tell others that you are HIV positive.  Offer to be there with your loved one – if they want – when they share their HIV status to others.  Work with the others to help them understand that they are not at risk themselves from daily contact and caring for a person with HIV.

5. Test other family members

If your loved one is married – it is important to test their spouse for HIV.  If the mother is found to be infected with HIV – then it is good to test the children as well.

Testing other family members for HIV can be very hard – there may be many feelings of guilt and fear.  But you can help your loved one overcome these feelings by your encouragement and prayers.

Your loved one may not want to test immediately, especially if they have just found out about their own HIV positivity.  But do not wait too long.  If the family members are HIV negative – then that can be a huge burden lifted off your loved one’s shoulders.  If any are HIV positive – then we can start their own treatment sooner rather than waiting for the disease to do damage to them!

6. Support financially.

Nothing is free.  Nothing is cheap.  Your loved one will need some kind of financial help.  You may not be able to help in every area, but every little bit is useful.  Gently find out what your loved one’s needs are – and what their family’s needs are.  Once you have found out – act! Don’t wait to help them out.  God loves a cheerful giver!

7. Listen.

Listen to your loved one’s fears and worries and help them to overcome them.  Don’t give up – and don’t let your loved one give up!  Keep communicating.  Send SMSs.  Call up. Visit.  Spend time.  Listen more than you talk.  Allow your loved ones to express themselves.  If they need to cry – let them.  Give them a safe space in which they can share their deepest sorrows.

8. Keep confidentiality

Let your loved one know that you are not going to share what they tell you with anyone.  Keep to your word.  While you want your loved one to tell others about their HIV status – that is their job – not yours!  You must be totally trustworthy in keeping your loved one’s confidence.

9. Encourage your loved one to trust and depend on the Living God.

Living with HIV is not easy at all.  There are so many challenges. Every day.  None of us have enough time and energy to be the solution to the problems of others – especially those with HIV.

Here is where you can help your loved one to move forward and live positively – help them to trust and depend on the Living God.  We know that Jesus Christ cares for each one of us – especially those who are living with HIV/AIDS.

Help your loved one with HIV trust more in God Himself.  Encourage them to read God’s word the Bible and to pray.  Take your loved one with you to a prayer group or Sunday service if they do not do so already.

Having HIV is not the end – it is only the beginning of a new and often challenging phase of their life.

Thanks for being willing and ready to help your loved one with HIV.  We hope that this small write-up has helped you with some of the basic steps can be used by God to bless our loved ones who are living with this challenging condition.

———————————————————————————————

For further information, you can contact Jeevan Sahara Kendra at 9321112065  or send us an email at jsk@vsnl.net

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23 Responses to My loved one has HIV/AIDS… now what?

  1. Bhavesh says:

    Hi my sister has an hiv positive she is 42 year and feels ashamed for going to hospital she know hiv 2 years back whe she tested for caratic operation now i encorage her for treatment pls suggest its urgent

    • jeevansahara says:

      Dear Bhavesh,

      Please bring your loved one to the JSK clinic. Dr. Sheba will be happy to see her and give her advice on the next steps. You can come any weekday between 11 am and 5 pm. Please bring all the previous medical records with you when you bring her. Thanks and see you soon!

      Andi for the JSK team

  2. eleena100 says:

    My friends sister, who lives in Dahisar, has just tested HIV positive.
    Which is the nearest centre she can approach.

    • jeevansahara says:

      Dear Friend,

      We would be happy to see her here at the JSK centre. Please encourage her to come here with all her tests and any previous medical records / medications that she has.

      We do not know of any specific HIV centre in the Dahisar area – though a good friend of ours Dr. SP Mathew does practice at the Ashok Hospital in Dahisar and can be trusted.

  3. Jenny says:

    My younger sister has just been diagnosed with HIV. She is very depressed and on suicidal watch. I am very worried cos I have lost 2 siblings with this disease. She is in
    Kenya Africa. Please help and thank you

    • jeevansahara says:

      Dear Jenny,

      Thank you for telling us about your sister. The key for her is to find local people who can help. We are working in Thane, India (next to Mumbai) so we will not be able to visit her. But there will be a church near-by, there will be a health-care centre near her where people with HIV are helped. She needs to step out and make choices for her own good.

      We are so sorry that you have already lost two of your siblings – but this sister doesn’t need to be lost. The recent HIV conference in Washington DC they reported that “In Uganda a 35 yr old Man starting ART with a CD4 greater than 100 has a life expectancy of more than 35 years.” So the key for your sister is to get HIV care – and to keep on taking it.

      We know that God answers prayers Jenny. Pray for your sister to get hope. We will be doing from here. Pray for her to build good relationships with people she can trust – and people who are living lives that are positive. Pray that she will find and flourish in a faith-community where she can grow.

      Yours friends in India – JSK

  4. Patil says:

    Hi Dear, One of my relative is infected with HIV last 15 years back, is there any treatment at this stage. can we visit you in Thane, we are from Northern part of Maharashtra Dhule

    • jeevansahara says:

      Dear Friend,

      Thank you for posting a question on the JSK website.

      Yes we can provide help and treatment for your relative.

      We will want to meet the patient and assess their clinical status before we can give you advice on the appropriate treatment to take.

      Kindly come to our Centre in Thane with the patient and all the medical reports they have as well as any medication the patient is taking. You can come on any weekday between 11 AM and 3 PM.

      Kindly call Dr. Sheba at 9323712065 a few days before to confirm your coming.

      Hope we can be of real help to your loved-one.

      Blessings,

      Andi Eicher
      for the JSK team

  5. sandeep says:

    Hi,

    Kem hospital not providing quality of medicine for hiv people, so what can i do?

    • jeevansahara says:

      Dear Sir,

      Please come and talk with us. KEM and other govt. places have their challenges – but God has given free ART in our country – and we need to use the opportunities that God has given us. Please visit us and we can help you access better treatment at KEM and other places.

      Sincerely,

      the JSK Team

  6. benjamin george says:

    I haven been deduct HIV postive for further treatment please guide me I am not financially sound, please guide me with NGO helping HIV patient
    I reside in virar west ,thane dust Maharashtra

    • jeevansahara says:

      Dear Brother,

      Please come to Jeevan Sahara on any week-day between 11 AM and 3 PM with all your medical and lab reports. We will guide you about the next steps. Hope to see you soon. Directions to get here are on the website. There are ST busses from Virar to Thane. get off at “Taragan Vidhyapeeth” (Just before Kapurbawdi) and take an auto (minimum fare) from there.

      Please call me at 9321112065 for any questions.

  7. Nilesh says:

    Dear Dr. Sheba,

    My friend is diagnosed with HIV positive 3 days back & he is in critical condition. Firstly we admitted him to Ulhasnagar central Hospital but nobody took care of the patient which resulted in more critical situation. Now he is admitted in AIMS hospital Dombivli in ICU but they belongs from very poor family and cannot afford the further treatment in Hospital like AIMS.
    As per conversation with doctor he is infected with TB with HIV which has spread in his lungs. Doctors said Hospitalisation is required for more 2 weeks approx which patients mother cannot afford and the patient was only earning member in their family.

    Can you please suggest some hospitals in mumbai offering free hospitalisation to HIV patients in such situations or any hospitals who offer cheap treatments.

    Please Help….

  8. Hitesh says:

    Dear Sir / Mam

    My mother is hospitalised on 26 Jan 2014 at Kalyan Metro hospital. she is suffering in fever and when we admit her, she’s pulse rate was high so she admitted in ICU. Today she is in general ward but HIV positive detect in her blood test. so Dr chvan suggest to do some western blot test still test report not received and her fever came back in some hour. Dr Chavan suggest to do city scan for chest and abdominal. but our financial condition is so poor. we can’t able to give further treatment in this hospital. someone suggest me to take her at KEM or J J hospital.

    Kindly please suggest who will help us for my mom?

    Thanks & Regards

    Hitesh

    • jeevansahara says:

      Dear Hitesh,

      JJ has specific HIV care and the largest number of facilities. You are welcome to come and visit us with your mother. If she needs admission we can admit her. But please call Dr. Sheba at 9323712065 before you plan to come so that we can make sure that our nurses are available.

      We will pray for your dear mother at this time.

      Yours sincerely,

      Andi Eicher
      for JSK

      • Hitesh says:

        Dear Sir

        We called up your center and sir said to come visit center with my mom but she is facing completely weakness not able to walk also, if she came out she start shivering and fever. please tell me that can anyone will come at my place to see her. even she is not able to go out for CD4 test.

        My Father & me visited today at our nearest CDC Center. They given us complete information about HIV & AIDS. And advised to visit Center Hospital Ulhasnagar for CD4 test and treatment under govt. schemes. BUT THE PROBLEM IS THAT SHE IS NOT ABLE TO WALK ALSO. PLEASE TELL ME, CAN ONE VISIT OUR PLACE FOR HER CHECK-UP.

        Regards

        Hitesh

  9. manju says:

    Dear sir.
    My brother need take to test hiv and he is week in personality . Can u suggest me plz

    • jeevansahara says:

      Dear Manju,

      Please have your brother come for counselling and testing to the Jeevan Sahara Kendra in Thane on any week day between 9.30 am – 5 pm. Our trained counsellors will be happy to help him.

      Blessings,

      JSK team

  10. deepika says:

    Dear Sir

    My father is 61 yrs old. & he is a HIV Positive & now a days his condition is very bed & my financial back ground is very poor. so i want your suggestion what can i do & now a days his treatemnt start in JJ hospital. so pl you suggest some suggestio.

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