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HIV / AIDS

HIV and AIDS are diseases in the immune system that are in many cases fatal.  The condition leaves a person susceptible to infections and makes the body unable to fight even basic infections.  HIV/AIDS is a medical condition that requires medical intervention, but there are significant psychological effects when a person or a loved one is diagnosed with the disease.  Social stigma is a tremendous psychological concern regarding HIV/AIDS.

Symptoms

  • Acute Infection: symptoms resembling the flu or common cold
  • Fever, rash, nasal congestion, sores, nausea, vomiting
  • Latency Stage: no symptoms present
  • Pneumonia, respiratory infections, weight loss, muscle atrophy, fatigue

Causes

HIV/AIDS is caused by contact with infected blood, semen, or vaginal secretions.  It cannot be transmitted through air or water.  Oral, anal, and vaginal sex can transmit the virus.  Blood transfusions or sharing needles with infected individuals may also transmit the infection.

Treatment

Being a medical condition, HIV/AIDS must be treated with medical intervention as soon as possible. There are significant psychological effects of the disease.  A couple in which one partner is HIV positive faces serious struggles regarding intimacy and physical contact.  Fear is also a common issue among those who learn about the illness and are uneducated about its transmission.  A therapist will help the couple navigate these issues and learn to trust one another as they combat stigma surrounding the disease.

We Can Help

Open Path’s therapists offer beneficial services that encourage insight, self-reflection, and healthy coping mechanisms. Our therapists provide supportive, open communication, establishing secure foundations to help clients heal and grow.

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