Living with HIV creates one stressful event after another: anxiety about getting tested, dealing with news that one is positive, when to start medications, dealing with anxiety, depression and stigma…The list is endless. It is critical that we learn how to manage these feelings because the toll created by chronic stress is directly related to a drop in CD4 counts.
At the recent Positive Living 15 conference in Fort Walton Beach, I gave this presentation on some ways to cope. Here is a pdf verson of my presentation:
The slides explain how stress impacts the body, symptoms, and tools to address them, including gaining a sense of optimism, improving interpersonal skills, identifying and appropriately expressing feelings, and most important, getting connected to others with whom you can give and receive support.
Emotional survival with HIV is certainly possible but doesn't come without work, commitment, and sharing the experience with others.