HIV and the Church

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Find Support

Importance of Having Support

The healthiest HIV positive people, physically, emotionally and spiritually, are often those who have a strong support foundation.

Some people choose to live with HIV in seclusion. This often leads to depression, isolation and illness. Understand that how you cope with HIV&AIDS IS your choice.

Even if you do not feel comfortable using existing family and friends for support, you do not have to carry the burden of HIV alone. HIV is a life-altering, possibly life threatening illness, so reach out.

Whether you choose to share your status with the world or only a few close friends, anonymously, on line, or somewhere else, you can find encouragement, reassurance and support dealing with the physical, physiological, emotional and spiritual effects of living with HIV. Many people living with HIV are amazed at the degree of love, warmth and comfort they experience after letting people know that they are HIV+.

Support Groups

It is essential to have the support of people who are experiencing many of the same issues as you are.

Many churches have support groups for people living with HIV. Members of support groups often become close friends with whom it is comfortable to share thoughts that you may not want to discuss with family, friends or your partner.

A support group can be an “in person” or an “online” experience. If possible, finding a physically present support group nearby is helpful because you discover people you enjoy spending time with outside the group.

The goal of a support group is, as the name states, to give and provide support. After you have a good grip on living with your illness, you may find it personally rewarding to provide support to others in your group as well. Support groups can be a great source of information and resource identification.

Your Local Church

A church should be your best place for support. People should be loving because are they are being loved by God. People in the church can also encourage your relationship with Jesus Christ and growth toward being closer to God. Regular worship in community and Bible study are essential parts of healthy living.

Saddleback Church, in Lake Forest, CA, for example has an HIV&AIDS Initiative that’s serves people living with HIV&AIDS through compassionate care and support. Saddleback offers support groups, care teams, HIV Testing, a food pantry, furniture assistance, addiction recovery and ongoing spiritual growth and support. To learn more about the resources available at Saddleback Church please contact Pastor Bill Mugford at billm@saddleback.com or (949) 609-8295. Love, support and care services like these may be available at a local church near you. We invite you to reach out to your church or a church near you to receive support.

The HIV&AIDS Initiative also provides inspiration and functionalHIV ministry models for any church looking to start or improve their HIV&AIDS ministry. If your church wants to help and needs assistance getting started invite them to check out our website and contact us. We are currently building a network of churches with HIV&AIDS care services and would love to have your church join, so we can help others in your community connect with the support and care your church offers. Please click join to the HIV&AIDS Initiative Network and learn more.

Family & Friends

While many people living with HIV have found families and friends to be a great source of support, others have been rejected by those they thought they could count on.

Think carefully about to whom you want to disclose your status among family and friends. Tell only those with whom you feel comfortable sharing and whom you believe will respect your decisions on who else should know this information.

Remember, you are not endangering anyone by having casual contact with them such as a hug, kiss or sharing a meal together. Consequently, you are not obligated to tell everyone or anyone of your newly discovered medical condition. However, keeping your HIV status to yourself will quickly become a burden much harder to deal with if you do not share information with those you trust.

While it may be difficult for those who care about you to hear the news of your positive status, give them time to adjust and encourage them to learn about HIV so that they can become familiar and more comfortable with your diagnosis.

NOTE: It is often helpful to download relative information to provide immediately when you disclose your status.

Remember that we love you and so does God. Know that we are here to help, so please feel free to contact us on this website, at hivaidsinitiative.com.