HIV is a serious immunodeficiency virus that can easily develop into AIDS if left untreated. The AIDS epidemic began in the 1980s and, at the time, there was very little information about this disease, which is spread through any type of unprotected sexual contact or by injecting certain substances into the body. Fortunately, much more research has been made on the subject, but there remains a lot of people afflicted with it. Those afflicted with HIV have the ability to start hospice care, patients are provided a higher level of comfort for their living.
According to HIV.gov, roughly 1.1 million people in the United States today have HIV. Roughly 1 in 7 people aren’t aware that they have the disease and require testing. Younger people (in their teens, 20s and 30s) are especially susceptible to this disease, and although it is most common among homosexual individuals, heterosexual people around the world can also become infected with HIV/AIDS. Per WebMD, the most common symptoms of an acute HIV infection (that can arise within just weeks) include fatigue, headaches, fever sore throat and aching muscles. Rashes on the torso and swollen lymph nodes are also frequent signs of HIV. In recent years, the U.S. Government — and several state and local officials — have pushed for greater HIV/AIDS prevention methods like syringe services programs (SSPs) and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
HIV/AIDS victims usually are given six months or less to live upon diagnosis. Hospice care for HIV patients is an alternate way to provide them additional comfort during their time. It’s important to know how to take care of someone who was recently diagnosed with HIV, so here are some things to keep in mind.
Initial Reactions to an HIV Diagnosis
There is undoubtedly a high degree of shock and fear that one can feel upon learning of someone’s HIV diagnosis, but it’s crucial to remain composed and collect all relevant information.
Typical Medical Attention Needs For HIV Patients
HIV is typically diagnosed by testing someone’s blood or a sample of cells from a swab derived from inside the cheek to see if any antibodies to the disease exist. Antiretroviral therapy (ART), or using drugs to treat the virus, is also sometimes used. Each type of drug blocks the disease in distinct ways. According to HIV.gov, ART should be conducted daily.
Ways to Provide Care Outside of Medical Needs
One of the main ways to offer care to someone diagnosed with HIV involves simply spending time with him/her and making the person feel safe in their environment. Spiritual support (helping someone get in touch with their faith) can also make a huge difference.
You should also encourage your loved one to develop or maintain healthy habits like exercising regularly (a short walk counts), eating foods rich in protein and drinking lots of fluids.
Keeping Your Loved One’s Spirits Up
Ultimately, giving your loved one afflicted with HIV/AIDS a sense of optimism can be greatly beneficial to their overall well-being. An effective way to do this is by telling them a positive story or letting them stay close to a prized possession, like a book or a piece of jewelry. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking. Listening to what your loved one has to say about any given subject can also help give them a sense of worth.
The Right Time to Ask For Help From Harbor Light Hospice
Speak to the experienced professionals at Harbor Light Hospice for more information about when it is appropriate to seek help for a loved one infected with HIV/AIDS. Although based in Winfield, Illinois, HLH also serves patients throughout Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oregon, Texas and Virginia and is dedicated to improving peoples’ overall quality of life.
Harbor Light Hospice’s services include pain management and tailored care, given the fact that each case of HIV is different. Whether a patient needs skin care, proper hydration or help with nutrition, HLH is here to help. Harbor Light Hospice offers home visits, long-term hospice care for HIV patients and assisted living communities, and also provides support for patients’ spiritual and emotional needs. They also provide grief counseling to the relatives of people who have passed away due to HIV/AIDS.
In addition, Harbor Light Hospice offers 24/7 on-call support and helps families who struggle to cover the financial costs for care. Fortunately, most Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance companies often cover hospice care. It’s also important to note that many studies show hospice care for HIV patients often leads to less likelihood of hospitalization.
Call Harbor Light Hospice today at (630) 682-3871 or contact them online to learn more about their support services. You’ll hardly find a more compassionate organization in your area.