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Author Topic: Sibling diagnosed with HIV x 3 weeks. Initial shock and difficulty coping  (Read 543 times)

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Offline Fam_Love2014

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  • Posts: 2
A loved one who is very dear to me, (my sibling), was recently diagnosed with HIV.  I have taken this very hard.  I understand the prognosis of this illness, which is good, as long as an individual seeks treatment appropriately.  However, I am having a difficult time coping with this and I feel overwhelmed in my research concerning HIV.  I want to be there for my sibling and provide emotional support, while also being knowledgeable concerning HIV, but I am currently struggling with this role.  Is there any positive advice and resources that can be provided to assist family members and a newly diagnosed individual?

Offline zach

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  • Posts: 2,110
Re: Sibling diagnosed with HIV x 3 weeks. Initial shock and difficulty coping
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2014, 08:26:05 AM »
IMO, taken with salt...

Full stop on the research. Information overload and paralysis by analysis, all it really does is add to general stress levels. You've probably already absorbed more than you really need to.

It's good to be educated, but unnecessary to become an expert, especially in the case of family support network. Your role is support if they falter, be cautious of getting in front of your sibling, don't lead.

Be the normal in their life, a comfort they can go back to. Give them something else to think and talk about; a moment's distraction from the fight. Observe closely though, if you see the seams coming apart, maybe then change your posture.

If they are in medical treatment, and taking their meds diligently... you can and should relax. The markers that will inform you; their viral load, and CD4 count. If their CD4 is less than 200, maybe time to worry a little bit, but no matter what it is it'll work out and never cause for panic. Viral load, no matter how high it is, how scary that number is, with treatment it can be suppressed and controlled.

Take them out for a steak and a beer to celebrate Undetectable Viral Load, that is probably our single most important goal, but be patient it can take time. Once achieved, the rest is a mostly head game. There is very little (next to nothing) we can directly do to affect CD4 count, if they start low, it's a long process. Don't pester every month, be patient with the long game.

Learning to live with the virus, put the emphasis on live. Not letting the virus define us. Those are big challenges. That is where I think you have the most to offer.

Let their medical team be that side of the equation, you can best serve them in other ways.

If I could give you only one piece of advice. Be the normal that they lost. Whatever you two did before, go do more of that.

Does your sibling have any positive people to talk to? No offense to you at all, you obviously love and care for them. But I can tell you from experience, early on, it really helps to be able to talk to others that have been through it.

Either way, get them in here, lot of love in here.
An honest tune with a lingering lead has taken me this far

Offline Fam_Love2014

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Re: Sibling diagnosed with HIV x 3 weeks. Initial shock and difficulty coping
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2014, 10:17:39 PM »
Zach,

  Thank you so much for the advice.  I really appreciate it and it was greatly needed.  Thank you for taking time and shedding light on the situation!

Offline mecch

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  • Posts: 12,316
  • red pill? or blue pill?
Re: Sibling diagnosed with HIV x 3 weeks. Initial shock and difficulty coping
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2014, 05:43:18 AM »
However, I am having a difficult time coping with this and I feel overwhelmed in my research concerning HIV.  I want to be there for my sibling and provide emotional support, while also being knowledgeable concerning HIV, but I am currently struggling with this role.  Is there any positive advice and resources that can be provided to assist family members and a newly diagnosed individual?

Difficult time coping in what way? Read the lessons on this site and then STOP reading other stuff for awhile.
I agree with Zach.  Its the doctors who are experts as per the knowledge of HIV and its treatment.
Suggest your sibling join this site.
If he/she isn't in a bad way for the infection, the best is to be matter of fact, can do, secure, calm, and not "overly" supportive or concerned, unless or until he/she asks for some sort of support.
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline harleymc

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  • Posts: 272
By the way HIV is not a disease! It is an infection. Big Distinction.

 Having HIV doesn't preclude good even excellent health. Your sib will just have to be proactive about his/her health.

Offline Dan0

  • Member
  • Posts: 548
Hello, FAM

I can certainly understand how difficult it has been for you - but take some steps back and shut down the research. 

How did you find out about your sibling's condition?  Did they actually come out and tell you and was it on their terms?  If not - or if there was any force or need to disclose, then you may be offering support that is possibly not needed or wanted by them.  It's all about them - not you or anyone else until they say so.

I can think of nothing worse in my beginning days than to have someone hovering over me, discussing my infection and treatment options and asking questions that they probably otherwise would not if it were any other infection or disease. That daily reminder comes in many forms and - like Zach said - those days you just want to compartmentalize it, handle it and go on as normal as possible.

Then, there are days they actually may WANT to discuss these things.  A simple, "How are you doing?" is all that is needed and then they'll take it from there.  If THAT day isn't the day to discuss, you'll get a "fine" - if they want to discuss - you may get more and that's completely up to them.
You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there's still going to be somebody who hates peaches.

"Honey, you should never ask advice from a drunk drag queen who has a show to do." - JG

06/2002 DX
10/2006 Atripla UD
10/2013 Stribild Still UD

 


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