What is HIV/AIDS Affirmative Counseling
Although there have been significant medical advances in the effective treatment of HIV/AIDS, stigma still runs rampant regarding this illness. Regardless of when you were diagnosed, living with HIV/AIDS can increase symptoms of anxiety, depression, shame, frustration, substance abuse, and anger. Whether you’re a long-term survivor or just learned of your diagnosis, mental health counseling can be a great source of support.
The advancement in antiretroviral therapy (ART) allows people who adhere to medical treatment to live a very normal life. HIV treatment and medical care have come an incredibly long way since the 1980’s when large numbers of infected individuals were dying. Although this advancement is phenomenal, unfortunately, the stigma and shame associated with HIV persist. If you are HIV positive and feeling overwhelmed or isolated, you are not alone. I have over 10 years of experience supporting people in your situation and I would love to help you rediscover hope.
“Never let the things you cannot do prevent you from doing the things you can.” – John Wooden
How can HIV/AIDS Counseling help you?
HIV/AIDS counseling can be focused on you alone or can involve family counseling and couples counseling. HIV/AIDS therapy can help you:
- Decrease shame and other mental health symptoms related to diagnosis
- Feel comfortable and confident engaging in sexual activities
- Find coping mechanisms to better manage mental health symptoms
- Increase your support network
- Increase feelings of hopefulness and decrease feelings of shame over time
Through over twenty years of research on HIV prevention and transmission, evidence has shown that an undetectable viral load leads to zero risk of transmission (also known as U equals U). This means if you’re adhering to your medication regimen, and tests show your viral load is undetectable, it is impossible to transmit the virus to a sexual partner.
In therapy, we will focus on your mental health and emotional well-being. I will help you find the best ways to express your fears, uncertainties, and concerns. Ultimately, we’ll develop tools to manage the challenges ahead, return to work, and re-engage in relationships and your daily routines.
What to expect during HIV/AIDS Counseling?
It’s imperative that you work with mental health counselors that understand HIV well. Unfortunately, not all therapists are trained to offer HIV/AIDS affirmative counseling. I have provided counseling to those impacted by HIV/AIDS in health care agencies and private practice settings for almost ten years. Prior to my mental health career, I had the honor of working as an advocate for this community.
In counseling, I will create a safe space for you to discuss sensitive topics. By gently exploring emotionally charged subjects, we will clear the path to acceptance and hope. I will encourage you to voice your fears of rejection and social stigma, help you get a clearer picture of possible challenges to come, and arm you with the right coping mechanisms to face them. You will be equipped with the tools to disclose to sexual partners from a place of confidence rather than a place of shame or fear. Let me guide you through the entire process and show you there is always a way!
“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – A. A. Milne
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. #104811
Los Angeles Office
566 S. San Vicente Blvd STE 101
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Sherman Oaks Office
13400 Riverside Dr #318
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423