Owen Clinic
(619) 543-3995

I Have a Loved One With HIV/AIDS

Couple holding hands on beachMany people are afraid to tell their loved ones they have tested positive for HIV. They may be scared and worried about how you are going to react to the news. They are frightened by the possibility of your rejection. It is not expected to be any easier for you knowing your loved one (mother, father, son, daughter, friend, husband, or wife) tested positive for HIV. But this person needs your support. It often takes a lot of courage to talk about HIV.

Try to stay calm and try not to accuse or judge; ACCEPT. You can make a difference telling your loved one you love him or her.

Answers to Common Questions You May Have

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What is HIV/AIDS and how did my loved one get it?

  • HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV damages the immune system. The immune system fights infections and keeps people healthy. HIV prevents the immune system from doing its job.
  • HIV transmission happens when a person has unprotected sex, or shares needles or other equipment used to inject. An HIV+ mom can pass HIV to her baby during birth or via breast milk.

Do I have it? Am I going to get it?

If your loved one is your sexual partner, get tested and talk to your doctor. Learn about safe sex practices. HIV is not spread through casual contact. Your loved one won’t transmit the disease to you by sharing telephones, dishes, glasses, silverware or cooking utensils. 

What can I do for them?

  • Emotional support
    • Accept without been judgmental. Raise his or her spirit. Your encouragement can make the difference. It’s okay to feel fear and be alarmed about the situation. There are resources for you and your loved one in the Owen Clinic and in your local public health department or reach out to an AIDS hotline for the facts: Health Care Library.
  • Financial support
    • You may think you are not able to help financially. Carefully, find out about your loved one and his or her needs. Help provide guidance and support.
  • Being there.
    • Listen to your loved one and keep confidentiality. However, encourage disclosure. HIV+ people need a strong, loving support group.
  • Being a patient’s “Medical Partner”.

What else do I need to know?

  • Always keep in mind that you are not the only one suffering. Your loved one needs you now more than ever. He or she may be afraid. Do not accuse. Do not judge.
  • Encourage your loved to stay in medical care with a medical provider.
  • Listen.
  • Keep confidentiality.

Can I talk to someone?

It's best if you do not disclose another person's HIV status. But if do, you need to be careful with whom you talk to. Make sure you talk to someone who is going to keep confidentiality. You don’t want to violate your loved one's trust.

What are some questions I might want to ask?

Your HIV+ friend or loved one

  • What can I do to help you?
  • What should I do? 
  • Did you talk with a doctor yet?
  • When did you find out you are HIV+?

Their doctor

  • Is there anything I should do to help him or her stay healthy? Isn’t AIDS an incurable disease?
  • I'm providing care to a loved one with HIV/AIDS. What resources are available?