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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,

-David



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