Building Healthy Self Esteem

Discovering you have an STD can be a blow to your self-esteem. Although you are the same person you always were, with so many negative and inaccurate views of STDs and those who suffer from them, it is easy to become vulnerable to feelings of shame, embarrassment and low self worth because of your diagnosis. Having healthy self esteem is vitally important for your confidence, self-worth and relationships with others. Here are some tips to help you regain your feelings of self worth and dignity and take a positive approach to the future.

Remember You Are Still the Same Person You Were Before The Diagnosis
Although you may need to make a few adjustments to your lifestyle or take medication, your diagnosis hasn’t changed who you are. This is particularly true if you are feeling affected by the unfortunately still prevalent attitude that having an STD makes you dirty or promiscuous, or somehow lesser than someone without one. Taking some time to remind yourself who you are, what is important to you and what your plans and dreams are, may help you to keep your sense of self.

Keep Things in Perspective

An STD may have all sorts of stigmas attached, but in reality, it is just an infection like any other. You wouldn’t feel like a lesser person if you had a nasty case of the flu or an ear infection, would you? Just because STDs are transmitted during sex doesn’t mean they are any different from other infections, or that you are any different from anyone else. Anybody can catch an STD regardless of age, sexual history and lifestyle, and they are more common than many people realize.

Surround Yourself with Supportive People

Finding supportive friends, family members or a professional to talk to can help you focus on the positives and work through any negative feelings you might be having. Spending time with those who see STDs as part of normal life and can look beyond your illness and remind you that you are still the same person you always were may help you regain your confidence and self esteem.

Where possible, avoid spending time with judgmental people or those who take an overly negative view of STDs. When it comes to dating, you still deserve to be treated with the same respect as before, so make sure you don’t settle for second-rate treatment from your partner or stay in a relationship that is not working. Although you may face rejection from some potential partners based on your STD status, it is important to stay positive and believe that the right person is out there for you, just like for everyone else.

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5 Common Myths About Dating With HIV

When you are first diagnosed with a long term health condition like HIV, there can be a lot to take in. You will probably go through a number of different emotions and stages before you come to terms with your diagnosis. Fortunately, there is a lot of information out there about HIV and dating with HIV, but it is easy to become overwhelmed. Protect yourself and any future partners you have, by seeking advice from a medical professional regarding the risk of infecting future partners, and how you can best prevent this happening.

Here are some of the common myths surrounding dating with HIV.

If you are HIV positive you can never date again

Although you will need to make some adjustments, plenty of HIV positive people go on to find love and enjoy happy fulfilling relationships. It may be a bit more challenging, and the path may be a bit less smooth, but just because you have HIV you don’t have to live like a hermit for the rest of your life.

If you and your partner are both HIV positive you don’t need to practice safe sex
Even if both partners have tested HIV positive it is possible to be re-infected with a different strain of the illness. Re-infection could lead to ongoing health problems, including resistance to medication. Having sex without a condom could leave you vulnerable to other STDs, which could compromise your health.

Using condoms means I can’t infect my partner

Although using condoms can greatly reduce the risk of infection, nothing except complete abstinence can guarantee you or your partner will be protected from becoming infected with HIV. Your best defence is to educate yourself and your partner on the risks and decide from there.

Because I already have HIV there is no need to get tested

Having HIV does not mean you are not at risk of developing other STDs. With your immune system already compromised, it is important that you take care to avoid any potential infections.

Because I am HIV positive I will never be able to have children

It is possible for HIV positive couples to have children without infecting them. You don’t need to give up on your dream of having a family because of your HIV status.

Discovering that you have been infected with HIV can be a huge shock and it may take a while to come to terms with your illness and what it means for your health and the future. Millions of people who have HIV lead happy, productive and fulfilled lives and go on to find love – hopefully you can too!