Connect with others who understand.

sign up log in
About myHIVteam

Finding a New Normal: Living With HIV

Posted on June 01, 2017

Receiving an HIV diagnosis can be jolting and upsetting because it labels us with a problem for which there is no clear cure. Diagnosis is like suddenly falling off a cliff. Abruptly, the life we had before diagnosis vanishes. It’s the beginning of a new life path managing HIV.

Stages of Grief
If diagnosis is like falling off a cliff, then grappling with this new reality is like going through the stages of grief. The concept of the five stages of grief was introduced by Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in 1969. The stages represent difficult feelings experienced during hardships and traumatic events, such as the death of a loved one, a breakup, or confronting an addiction. Grief is experienced by people who find themselves living with chronic conditions, too.

The five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The stages rarely happen in order, and many people revisit some or all of the stages over and over.

Anger sets in when we acknowledge what we’ve lost – suddenly there are new realities because of HIV: feeling afraid to be vulnerable with partners and friends, worrying about medication schedules, running to endless doctor's appointments, and losing friends because they don’t understand why we have to cancel plans suddenly. Some days begin with bargaining and trying to live perfectly in hopes that it will go away. Frustration and disappointment about the chronic nature of HIV can lead to depression and sadness.


Relief (The New Normal)
An official diagnosis can be the catalyst we need to move us past denial. Relief slowly begins to creep in when this new normal is shared with others. Social support, from friends and family and from fellow members on myHIVteam, helps you slowly climb the staircase of grief into a more predictable plateau – the “new normal.” Forging social support from others with HIV can bring perspective and validation. Walking through life with HIV isn’t easy or what we asked for, but it makes all the difference to walk this new path with others who understand. Have you found your new normal?

A myHIVteam Member said:

I've had it so long, I forgot what life used to be when I didn't have it. But, as time goes by you learn to adapt. Honestly, I forget about it half the time, I just go to my appointments, take the… read more

posted 17 days ago

hug (1)

Recent articles

Many people diagnosed with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) experience weight gain after...

How To Talk To Your Doctor About Weight Gain and HIV

Many people diagnosed with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) experience weight gain after...
For people who have access to HIV treatment and take it every day, as directed, HIV usually...

Treatment for HIV

For people who have access to HIV treatment and take it every day, as directed, HIV usually...
Good nutrition plays an important role in maintaining your quality of life and supporting your...

Healthy Diet and Nutrition in HIV

Good nutrition plays an important role in maintaining your quality of life and supporting your...
Greetings teammates, I’m Mike!I’m living, in fact thriving, with HIV here in Pittsburgh,...

HIV Member Spotlight: On the Bright Side

Greetings teammates, I’m Mike!I’m living, in fact thriving, with HIV here in Pittsburgh,...
Maintaining a healthy weight after being diagnosed with HIV can be difficult. Gaining weight is...

Maintaining a Healthy Weight With HIV

Maintaining a healthy weight after being diagnosed with HIV can be difficult. Gaining weight is...
Breakthrough treatments like antiretroviral therapy (ART) help people with HIV live longer,...

The Importance of Self-Care With HIV

Breakthrough treatments like antiretroviral therapy (ART) help people with HIV live longer,...
According to Harvard Medical School, some people living with HIV or AIDS may have a higher risk...

Canceling Is Kindness: Keeping Safe From COVID-19 With HIV

According to Harvard Medical School, some people living with HIV or AIDS may have a higher risk...
When a person has drug-resistant HIV, one or more HIV medications or antiretrovirals (ARVs) do...

HIV-1 Drug Resistance: What You Need to Know

When a person has drug-resistant HIV, one or more HIV medications or antiretrovirals (ARVs) do...
What Is Lipohypertrophy? Lipodystrophy syndrome is an abnormal loss or gain of fat commonly seen...

Hard Belly and HIV

What Is Lipohypertrophy? Lipodystrophy syndrome is an abnormal loss or gain of fat commonly seen...
HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system. If HIV is not treated, within a few years it can...

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) – An Overview

HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system. If HIV is not treated, within a few years it can...
myHIVteam My HIV Team

Two Ways to Get Started with myHIVteam

Become a Member

Connect with others who are living with HIV. Get members only access to emotional support, advice, treatment insights, and more.

sign up

Become a Subscriber

Get the latest articles about HIV sent to your inbox.

Not now, thanks

Privacy policy
myHIVteam My HIV Team

Thank you for signing up.

close