Getting Good HIV Care as Survivors of Trauma

Trauma is terrible, and all too common. According to the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, 70% of adults in the United States have lived through a traumatic event. If you or someone you love has had traumatic experiences, there are steps you can take to prevent trauma from interfering with the care and services you need, and to work on recovering from trauma itself.

It's abundantly clear that trauma is bad for your health. And people with HIV have much higher rates of trauma history than those who are not living with HIV.

Negative events or ongoing conditions -- like living through childhood neglect; undergoing physical, emotional or sexual abuse as a child or adult; witnessing or becoming the victim of violence; or experiencing grief, loss, natural disasters or accidents -- can outstretch a person's ability to cope and thrive.

The stress from traumatic events can have a lasting impact -- even after the event ends or the circumstances change. Trauma can also be passed on from generation to generation in families or communities with histories of displacement, mistreatment or systemic violence.

Christie's Place in San Diego brings a trauma-informed approach to all of its work with women living with HIV, allowing them to "explicitly address the effects of interpersonal violence and victimization on a woman's lived experiences." But even though trauma is all too common in the lives of many people with HIV, few organizations have the training or resources to make their services as welcoming as possible to those with traumatic histories or present circumstances.

How to Manage Trauma is a concise tool for learning about trauma, its effects and ways to recover. It also offers suggestions for how to talk to providers about treatments and approaches that can help you get the care you need. Thanks to the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare for this important infographic.

How to Manage Trauma

Julie "JD" Davids is the managing editor for and