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Handling the stress of living with the virus

Apr 1, 2012

I am a student at a certain university in SA and it's been a year and half since I became aware of my HIV positive status. I find it difficult to handle stress since I am Student Representative within the school. How can I reduce stress so as not to affect my CD4 count?

Response from Dr. Fawcett

Thanks for writing. Stress is directly correlated with a decline in CD4 counts, so it is extremely important for anyone living with the virus to find ways to control stress to the greatest extent possible. I recently gave a presentation at Positive Living 15 called "When the Crisis Lasts a Lifetime: HIV, Burnout, and Emotional Survival." I'll include a link here to download a pdf version of the slides. It covers both symptoms of such stress and some tools to address them, including gaining a sense of optimism, improving interpersonal skills, identifying and appropriately expressing feelings, and most important, getting connected to others with whom you can give and receive support.

Good luck,


Mood swings and HIV
Staying motivated

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