HIV and emotional wellness

Living with HIV can challenge your emotional health

There’s no doubt that living with HIV can be emotionally challenging. You may be dealing with a great deal of stress and anxiety after being diagnosed with HIV or as a result of disclosing your HIV status to family, friends and sex partners. You may have experienced judgment, rejection or discrimination from those around you. Losses you may have experienced as a result of being HIV positive—such as the loss of health, employment, income and dreams for the future—or the loss of loved ones who have died because of AIDS-related illnesses can be devastating.

Perhaps you already struggled with depression, anxiety or other emotional health issues prior to your HIV diagnosis. Or you have been sexually or physically abused or you are a survivor of a residential school and are experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder. Perhaps you are not entirely comfortable with your sexuality and you are blaming that part of yourself for your HIV diagnosis. Or your use of drugs and alcohol may have gotten out of hand and could be causing problems in your social life or on the job. To top it off, untreated HIV and some related conditions, as well as some of the anti-HIV medications we take, can cause side effects that impact our emotional health.

This booklet provides practical information and tips to help you achieve better emotional health, to maintain it when things threaten to disturb the balance and to return to it after a period of emotional difficulty or crisis. So read on...