Today we start a new 4 part series in our blog titled “Advice from a Caregiver”. Throughout this series we will share one of our LTAI caregiving members’ experience with HIV and how she supports and cares for her sister. Finding out that a family member has HIV can be very frightening but with education, patience, and perseverance, you can be there to the fullest for your loved one.
What advice would you share with people who have family members that are HIV positive?
I would say they need to be understanding, not judgmental and to get educated. I was about 13 when I found out my sister was diagnosed with AIDS. I didn’t know anything about HIV, so I had a lot of misconceptions. When I found out she had the disease I thought she was going to die, and I now know that’s not the case.
You can hurt your family member’s feelings if you are doing certain things …[actions that are perceived wrong], like stigma. Remember, you can’t catch HIV by touching, hugging or sharing utensils. It can hurt their feelings, more than you can know, if you act like that. The most important thing is to show them love. Just because they have HIV doesn’t mean they change as a person. It is just something they have to handle. They are still your family, so get educated. Personally, for me with my sister, even I still need to get more informed.
What advice can you share? Check back soon for PART 2 of Advice from a Caregiver!