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HIV positive: new project helps those affected
The diagnosis of HIV positive is initially a shock for those affected. In a new project of the German AIDS Aid, people with HIV or AIDS are to be helped to deal better with the new situation. The helping buddies have been living with HIV for years.
Many people are unaware of their infection
The group most affected by new HIV infections in Germany is that of men who have sex with men. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) has pointed this out several times in the past. Many women underestimate HIV, as was recently warned. According to estimates by the RKI, around 14,000 people with an HIV infection were living in Germany at the end of 2013 without knowing it. Those who are diagnosed with HIV are usually initially in shock. A new project, reported by the dpa news agency, is to help those affected.
Affected people are often in shock after being diagnosed with HIV
Carsten is one of those affected. When he found out that he was HIV positive, he became afraid of dying from AIDS in his mid-30s. The diagnosis was a real shock to him. "I had the old pictures in my head that I quickly get spots on my face and die." Today, seven years later, the 41-year-old knows that his fears were unjustified. The Berliner now lives with HIV as a matter of course, takes medications every day that prevent the multiplication of the pathogen in the body and thus prevent the virus from triggering the immune disease AIDS. According to the information, he can no longer pass on HIV and has a life expectancy similar to that of HIV-negative people. As a buddy, he is involved in a new project by Deutsche AIDS-Hilfe for people who are doing the way he was seven years ago.
„You can live well and long with HIV ”
At that time, Carsten would have wanted a friend who is also HIV-positive and with whom he could have talked about all fears. However, his doctor could only take away his medical fears and the counselor at the AIDS service had to maintain professional distance. The self-help group that he visited “to get to know other positive people and to see up close: they are still alive,” brought reassurance: “You can live well and long with HIV.” After three visits, Carsten did not go there anymore because he was the topics overwhelmed: "Many had only talked about sex - sex was completely unthinkable in the situation at the time."
Buddies for newly infected people
The RKI estimates that 15,000 people with HIV or AIDS live in Berlin. 550 people with new infections are added every year. In April, Deutsche AIDS-Hilfe launched a new project called "Springboard" in several major German cities to close the gap between professional counselors and self-help groups. Newly infected people can look for a buddy on the website www.sprungbrett.hiv who will accompany them in a friendly way on their first steps in a positive life. These buddies live with HIV themselves, are already coping with their illness and have been trained by the German AIDS Aid, said project manager Heike Gronski: “The buddies listen, tell about their own story, convey an authentic picture of life HIV and thereby help those who are at the very beginning to develop a new perspective. "
Those affected often feel guilty
Interested parties can write to a buddy, talk to him on the phone and meet him. "We want the newly infected to sit across from someone who handles their infection naturally and confidently, and thus take away the internalized stigma," said Ms. Gronski. "Many people with HIV suffer from feelings of guilt and reproach themselves." Carsten is now one of four buddies in Berlin and 50 nationwide. “It is not the end of the world to get a positive result. I am a positive role model and living proof that you can live with HIV without cuts - with work, friends, relationships and sexuality. ”An HIV-positive woman has already reported to Carsten:“ She blossomed on the phone, because she was very happy to finally have someone who has gone through the same process as she and who understands her. "He can now even get something positive out of his infection:" I have met many valuable people in the positive community and made friends who I am would never have met otherwise. "(ad)