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how to deal with freinds status

Nov 22, 2003

Please help! I have a freind who tested HIV postitive who has lost the will to live. It has been about 7 months and she is not getting better. I am concerened because when we talk, she always seems to make some sad comment about her status and of course I quickly try and change the subject. How in the world can I encourage her with there still being so many unknowns out there about her future? She is on meds and regularly sees the doctor.

Response from Mr. Shernoff

It is certianly NOT helping her that when she begins to talk about her feelings that you change the topic. You need to encourage her to speak and then to listen to what she tells you.

The best thing you can do for her is to remind her that you love her and are very concerned that she sounds so depressed and seems to have lost the will to live. You can encourage her to join a support group for women with HIV and AIDS where she can meet others who are living with the disease and who can provide her with alot of support. You can also encourage her to seek out counseling from a mental health professional to help her through this difficult period in her life. I think that if you do these simple things it will be an enormous gift to your friend.

Michael Shernoff, MSW

Grief and Secrecy
HIV in care home

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