Being Young And HIV positive
The number of young people getting HIV is growing due to the lack of adequate information campaigns, lack of prevention, and above all, a late diagnosis. However, living with HIV is not the same as having AIDS. Today you can prevent the virus from multiplying and being exposed to diseases.
What does it mean being young and HIV positive?
Every day about 2,000 young people are infected with HIV. Estimates indicate that people between the age of 15 to 24 year account for more than one-third of all new virus infections among adults (1). In this same age group, only 36% of boys and 28% of girls have accurate and precise information about HIV.
Although vulnerable in many countries, the younger population is not covered by anti-virus policies that include sex education and reproductive health services. The situation is worsening in low and middle-income countries, where 22 million people living with HIV still lack access to adequate treatment. This now leaves a large number of them being young and HIV-positive.
Living positively with HIV
Today, we are living in a new time in relation to HIV. The new combined therapies have demonstrated their ability to stop the multiplication of the virus and allow infected people to improve their daily lives in better conditions.
Like any person, you have the right to a good quality of life. You have the right to enjoy your sexuality, to have a partner, family, children. To fully enjoy your sex life, remember that the use of condoms not only allows you not to transmit the virus to other people but also protects you from new infections that could complicate your health. Even if your partner also lives with HIV, it’s advisable always to use a condom.
How to deal with HIV at a young age
When you receive the diagnosis, it is difficult to make important decisions about the future, especially thinking about long-term work or family projects. It is essential that you try to avoid negative thoughts. Having HIV today is not synonymous with death.
The new medicines have managed to stop this disease and transform it into a chronic infection. Nowadays, people can live for many years with the virus. Here is how to deal with HIV at a young age.
1. Make it known to people you care for
It is good to find someone trustworthy to share your situation. Respect your times and needs to decide who and why to tell. Plan how you will break the news so that you can prepare to face their best or worst reactions. For them, it is also difficult news. So, it’s best to start with those people that you think can help you the most.
2. Medical care
Find a medical professional and speak frankly about what is happening to you. Building a trust bond is essential. If you see that this is not possible, feel free to change professionals. There are two studies that you must perform periodically:
I. CD4: which measures the quantity and quality of lymphocytes that the body has to defend against opportunistic infections
II. Viral load: which measures the amount of virus in the blood.
These tests are used to determine the likelihood of future illnesses. The information from the tests will help you decide with your doctor when to start taking antiretroviral since not all people do not need them from the moment of diagnosis.
If you start the treatment, it is important to have an active commitment to your schedules and plan how to take the medications. This is what is known as good treatment adherence. Find out about the possible side effects of the remedies you are going to take and be sure to tell your doctor about the problems that arise when doing so.
3. Take care of your own
The medication does not work miracles. Eating healthy, resting, exercising, developing projects, trying to maintain emotional balance will contribute to your quality of life. Also, keep in mind that there will be advances and setbacks.
4. Meet other people in groups
Meeting people living with HIV is usually an enriching experience. There are associations and support groups all over the world and even dating sites for HIV positive people such as Pozpersonals com and Positivesingles com If you decide to go, you will meet people with different experiences who have gone through situations similar to yours. In the groups, the members mostly reflect on the daily problem of living with HIV or living with someone who has this virus. The intention of the group is building personal responses from peer exchange.
5. Learn to live with it
Being young and HIV positive is not a death sentence. Do not allow the feeling of anger and despair to take over you. Accept your situation and plan to take care of yourself. Many young people living with HIV are living happily with their families. Request for help when you need from people who have enough knowledge on HIV.
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