I was speaking to a group at the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS (http://www.swhiv.org) and heard some objections to the word “control” when it was used by another speaker. I started to think about what influence we really have over any aspect of our lives after a positive test…
The old Miram Webster dictionary says that control means to exercise restraining or directing influence over something or to have power over it. Let’s examine some ways we still have some control over our lives:
First, we control whether we seek or begin treatment. The decision to begin treatment is a personal one best made in consultation with your healthcare provider.
Second, we control who we share our status with and who will be on our support team. I recently wrote a blog post about the positive benefits to your immune system when you share your status with supportive family and friends. It is your choice whether to share your status and who you share it with.
Third, we control our lifestyle choices. Even after a positive diagnosis, we make impactful choices about living a healthier lifestyle. Studies have shown that infection with a second strain of HIV (superinfection) may have medical consequences.
Fourth, we control our nutrition and diet. There are some basics we all should be aware of including the need for additional protein and calories in our diet. Several of the antiretroviral medications also require increased water intake in order to prevent kidney complications.
Fifth, we control how much we know about HIV. Have you heard the phrase “Knowledge is Power”? Read, ask, and share are the only ways that we will have the knowledge to take back some control after a positive diagnosis.
There are many more ways to exert some control over a diagnosis that may have us feeling out of control.
I recommend starting with Positively Aware – a publication by the Test Positive Awareness Network. Please visit: http://positivelyaware.com/ . This bi-monthly publication is loaded with useful information.
Check back here frequently for more information and sources to build your knowledge and power.