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Spiritual Support and HIVSpiritual Support and HIV
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Jan 22, 1997

Dear Rev. First of all, congratulations for wonderful job on this site, and thank you very much for your great dedication on helping us. I would like to know more about the human real love relationship if one partner (in my case my girlfriend) is HIV+. This question is very important to understand her feelings and thoughts better. I am very worried on making the best I can for her, not only taking care, but the emotional support also. I love her very much and she deserves it. Thanks for help and support, Chris

Response from Rev. Pieters

Your positive attitude and desire to help your girlfriend are important first steps in giving her the support you want to. You'd be surprised at the number of people who have left HIV-positive partners out of fear. You're choosing love instead of fear, and I believe that is a key ingredient in healing. Not knowing your girlfriend, I don't know what she specifically might need from you. But in a general sense, I can guess that she needs your reassurance that you will be there for her, no matter what. People diagnosed with HIV often feel afraid of being abandoned. Continue making love with her, if her health permits. It is very important to maintain a healthy sexual relationship, if you have one with her. Practicing safer sex can still leave plenty of room for sexual fun and adventure with a loving partner. Making love safely can help her to feel the assurance of your presence, love, and support. Even when she's sick, lying close and holding her can help her, if she's not in too much pain. Sometimes holding a person's hand or wiping their brow, is all that is comfortable. If she's well, don't act as if you expect her to get sick at any minute. Many persons with HIV today are able to lead healthy, active lives thanks to the new combination treatments with protease inhibitors. When she's doing well, let her live well! If she's sick, do what you can to help her, but remember to continue caring for yourself as well. Just because you aren't infected with HIV doesn't mean you can't get worn down and sick too. Ask friends to help in caring for her. Get the professional help that's available through an HIV clinic or social service agency. Let her take responsibility for doing whatever she is able to do to help herself. It's very important to give those who are sick some sense of control over their own lives and bodies. Do everything you can to create the environment and conditions for healing. Healing can and does happen these days for people who are sick with HIV. And even if for some reason she doesn't improve, even if she's dying, healing can still happen: it may not be a healing of the body, but she may experience a sense of wholeness and completion about her life, or she may feel a deep peace in the face of the chaos of illness. Create a healing environment. Hold her close. Love her. Be there with her. If you are there for her with an open heart, and a soul and body willing to serve, which it seems you are, she couldn't really ask for more. Trust God to give you the discernment to know what she needs and how you can best be of loving support. God bless you both on your journey together!

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