What is your name? How old are you?
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My name is R. A. I am 29 years old.
Do you have a family?
Yes, I have. I live with my parents and my younger brother, but I am not married.
When were you diagnosed with HIV?
I was diagnosed about a year ago, after I became a blood donor.
Who initiated the test?
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The first test was made by a clinic where I was donating blood as their regular procedure. After they informed me I had HIV, I decided to make another test to check if there was no mistake.
Did you have any disturbing symptoms that made you visit a doctor and take a test?
I have had diverse symptoms, but I did not associate any of them with HIV. Looking back at the time when I suppose I was infected, I realize that I did not feel well for a week or two. I thought I had flu because I had mild fever, headaches, and lacked energy. During this year, I have had herpes more often than I usually have. One of the symptoms that made me think there was something wrong with my immune system was swollen glands. Nevertheless, I was too busy at that time because I was taking a new job and could not lose the chance wasting time for examinations. The major symptoms appeared after I was diagnosed.
Were you screened for other sexually transmitted diseases?
Yes, it was the first thing I did after the doctor approved the diagnosis on the basis of the second HIV test. It revealed I had chlamydia, but this infection was successfully treated and did not disturb me.
Do you know the way you were infected?
I suppose I got HIV from my ex-boyfriend. Still, I cannot check this fact because he moved and I do not have any of his contacts.
Did you inform your partner you were infected?
I did not have a partner when I was diagnosed with HIV. I wanted to inform my ex-boyfriend but I could not because he had moved and I did not have any of his contacts. Moreover, I believe he was the source of infecting himself.
Does your partner have HIV or AIDS?
I suppose my previous partner had HIV.
Did you share your diagnosis with your family?
Yes, I told my parents about the diagnosis. I live with them and we are very close, so we share almost everything. Moreover, I needed support and we always help each other in our family in every situation.
Did your life change significantly after the diagnosis?
Yes, my life changed greatly. In fact, it was divided into “before” and “after.” I was in depression for almost a month and had to take a vacation from work to recollect my thoughts and decide what to do and how to live. Still, after some time, I have almost returned to my usual life but became more careful.
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Did you experience any discrimination?
I cannot remember any cases of discrimination. I was surprised by the understanding demonstrated by my colleagues and the boss. I was ready to quit my job if I felt they were not comfortable with me, but they were really supportive.
Where do you find support?
My family was and still is my greatest support. They made me believe that my life changed but is not finished. In fact, they are the people I live for. I realized that I might not have a family of my own, so I value every moment spent with my parents and my brother. Also, my friends are very encouraging. I have two best friends, and they have been with me every day after I was diagnosed with HIV. They made me believe I had to live and pulled me out of depression.
Are you currently taking antiretroviral therapy? If yes, are you going to continue treatment?
Yea, I am taking antiretroviral therapy, and I do my best to take it regularly. I am lucky not to have any side effects and I feel much better after the treatment. In fact, I am leading my usual life while I am more cautious because every minor infection is dangerous for me.
The interviewed patient was diagnosed with HIV a year ago. The infection was revealed after she donated blood in one of the local clinics. Before that, she had had some disturbing symptoms such as fever, headaches, fatigue, and more frequent cases of herpes. Still, she found other reasons for her conditions and did not initiate HIV blood test. The interview discloses general patient’s psycho-emotional condition and witnesses her acceptance of HIV diagnosis. It is evident she has recognized the seriousness of her condition and tries to adjust her life to it. The young woman demonstrates good coping skills. She continues working and manages her usual lifestyles.
The important fact is that the patient accepted antiretroviral treatment that is vital for her and is attentive to recommendations of her doctor. Treatment adherence is one of the aspects that help to achieve optimal outcomes for HIV patients while poor adherence to antiretroviral therapy may result in less effective viral suppression (Schaecher, 2013). Another significant factor in her current condition is support she receives from her family, friends, and colleagues. They all help her to live her usual life and do not feel depressed. It is evident that support from her close people is decisive for her well-being and treatment adherence.
Impact of the Responses on Care Planning
The patient’s condition and the way she deals with her diagnosis predetermine care planning. The issue of treatment is already resolved. The woman takes antiretroviral therapy and is eager to continue her treatment. Thus, care can be focused on educational interventions aimed at managing life with HIV, avoidance of HIV-related stigma, and the aspect of family planning. Thus, educational interventions can include preventive strategies that will not allow the patient to spread the infection. Also, prevention from other diseases is significant for the patient herself because even a minor infection can lead to the unwanted outcomes. Consequently, teaching can be focused on healthy lifestyle and opportunities for avoiding infections. HIV-related stigma is a crucial factor that compromises adherence of patients to antiretroviral therapy (Katz et al., 2013). Therefore, care should include psychological support to prevent stigma.
Currently, the patient takes treatment and does not have any signs of depressive conditions. Nevertheless, prevention is necessary here as well. Finally, care plan should include the issue of family planning. The patient is a young woman of reproductive age. She is not married and does not have children, but the problem of childbirth can rise later. Thus, the patient should receive recommendations about family planning designed for HIV patients. She should be informed about the available family planning services, the existing risks as well as opportunities for childbirth (Gavin et al., 2014). On the whole, the care plan should follow the goals and objectives of Healthy People 2020 program about HIV which are focused on HIV prevention (“HIV,” 2018). Moreover, it is advisable to develop a plan with a potential to increase the patient’s access to care and treatment options and help the patient to preserve the usual quality of life.
Gavin, L. Moskosky, S., Carter, M., Curtis, K., Glass, E., Godfrey, E., … Zapata, L. (2014). Providing quality family planning services: Recommendations of CDC and the U.S. Office of Population Affairs. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web.
HIV. (2018). Web.
Katz, I. T., Ryu, A. E., Onuegbu, A. G., Psaros, C., Weiser, S. D., Bangsberg, D. R., & Tsai, A. C. (2013). Impact of HIV-related stigma on treatment adherence: Systematic review and meta-synthesis. Journal of the International AIDS Society, 16(3 Suppl. 2), 18640. Web.
Schaecher, K. L. (2013). The importance of treatment adherence in HIV. Web.