Today is World AIDS Day. This text could only be dedicated to talking about contraceptive methods, but I would like to invite you to reflect: what if you had HIV? Usually most people respond to this question with a negative. As if that risk hardly existed. That’s where the vulnerability begins.
Unfortunately, it is still common for HIV and AIDS to be associated with sexual debauchery. Or to situations of exposure to risk with several partners, but to become infected you only need an unprotected relationship. There are prejudices and associated taboos, which go far beyond the phrase ‘use a condom’, which we are so used to hearing.
HIV prevention and reflection on sexual life
Thinking about HIV prevention also involves talking about sex . Think and reflect on your sex life, desires and behaviors. At this point an online psychologist or sexologist can help!
Research on the sexual behavior of Brazilians shows that men are more adherent to condoms than women. It is necessary to talk about female sexuality, about protection, pleasure and knowledge of one’s own body and its limits. Many women seek care and guidance with difficulty in talking about their sexuality and consequently having little knowledge about prevention.
Condom use is essential in HIV prevention
For men, condoms are also taboo. Ordinarily men report difficulty in putting the condom on at the moment of sex for fear of loss of erection or ‘breaking the climate’. In this sense, it is necessary to understand the anxieties that surround this moment, in order to deconstruct nervousness and tension.
In addition, it is also necessary to seek strategies so that the condom is part of the sexual relationship, and that its handling is not a moment of protocol and breaking of the climax. One option may be to exchange the conventional condom for one that has flavor, or that provides some effect such as heat or cold, and in this way the condom takes on a new role in sexual intercourse: it also gives pleasure.
So far we’ve talked about prevention and how a psychologist can help in that regard.
But, what about when a person already has HIV? Here a psychologist can also help, a lot!
The role of the psychologist after HIV diagnosis
The moment of diagnosis of HIV infection is very delicate and ends up causing an avalanche of feelings and emotions . First, you need to understand about the disease and treatment. And mainly to realize that the diagnosis implies a new lifestyle , but it will never be a life limiter .
It is necessary to elaborate the meaning of the diagnosis, so that it is not a stamp that exposes supposed behavior , and that the patient is able to build elements to deal with the prejudice that unfortunately is still recurrent in Brazil with the population of people living with HIV / AIDS .
Monitoring mental health for people living with HIV is extremely important, not only because of the difficulty in receiving the diagnosis, but also thinking about the support network and whether it will be necessary to share the diagnosis with a family member , and also in the construction of future emotional relationships. People who have HIV can relate to people who do not have the virus, and this is more common than we think.
How is your level of depression, anxiety and stress? Take the test now!
Depression and HIV
In addition, the incidence of depression in people infected with HIV is higher than in the general population. This happens due to several factors, such as the diagnosis itself, the idea of limited life, guilt and also some antiretrovirals used to control viral load. This further demonstrates the importance of psychotherapeutic follow-up for people living with HIV / AIDS. The diagnosis is not an end.
Take advantage of this December 1st to get tested for HIV. In many specialized public services, the result is ready on the same day! Find out more by clicking here or call 136 and find the location closest to your address. Did you have any questions about HIV / AIDS or prevention? Feel free to look for me!
Platforms like Vittude can facilitate the search for a psychologist who meets specific requirements to meet everyone who needs follow-up. Access our website and check for yourself all the opportunities offered!
Giovane Oliveira, is a psychologist and sexologist at Vittude. He works at the Hospital das Clínicas of São Paulo in an outpatient clinic specialized in HIV / AIDS. It works with counseling, illness, sexuality and monitoring of people living with HIV / AIDS. In addition, it has a private practice where it serves adolescents, adults and couples.