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Where Can I Find Information Related to HIV?

by Hilary Meyer, LGBT Aging Expert
June 14, 2012

Question: My sister has been diagnosed with HIV. I don’t know anything about the illness and don’t know where to look. Where should I start?

Answer: An HIV-positive diagnosis is often associated with initial shock, disbelief, and fear. However, it is important to remember that there is life after testing positive. First of all, don’t undervalue the wealth of information about all aspects of HIV/AIDS that exists online. Check out AIDS.gov, particularly the HIV/AIDS Basics section in order to become comfortable with the basics. Also check out The Body, a complete online HIV/AIDS resource. Of particular help may be the Just Diagnosed section, which includes testimonials, resources, and basic information that will help you understand and respond to your sister’s diagnosis. Also, take a look at the Kaiser Foundation’s website for a wide variety of fact sheets related to HIV/AIDS. Finally, the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging has several resources that discuss HIV and aging in the LGBT community.

In addition, it is important that your sister meets with a doctor with whom she feels comfortable and can form a relationship. Encourage your sister to make a list of all the questions she may have regarding her diagnosis, treatment options, and symptoms. Consider attending the first several doctor’s appointments with your sister to show your support. Your doctor will be able to provide you with information about treatment or refer you to a specialist. Also, don’t be afraid to get in contact with local nonprofit or health agencies to see what kind of resources and services they offer to those diagnosed with HIV. If you are unsure of where to start, enter your zip code into this search engine to find a HIV/AIDS service provider near you.

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Hilary Meyer is the Director of the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, the country's only resource center focused on improving the quality of services and supports offered to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender older adults nationwide. Meyer provides leadership for the Center and the activities of its staff, advisory council and national partner organizations, guides content development and tools, and diseeminates best practice publications.

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