How To Find HIV Support Groups

Following a diagnosis of HIV, there are a few actions which are necessary or at least helpful. It is crucial to start treatment immediately, but many people who are HIV positive also find the support groups can be a useful tool to help them cope and live with their diagnosis. A support group can assist you with every aspect of living with HIV, from accepting your diagnosis to informing those around you.

Types Of Support Groups

When you begin your search for an HIV support group, it will quickly become apparent that there are several different kinds of these support groups. Clinic-based support groups are typically one of multiple services offered by outpatient clinics, hospitals, and practices who specialize in HIV. These support groups are directly linked to a patient’s medical care and tend to be schedule with a facilitator.

Support groups may also be institution-based, which means that they are connected to the primary care clinic or physician, but not directly linked to them. These are also facilitated and scheduled, mostly organized by faith groups, university-based health projects or community-based organizations. Private support groups have no affiliation and may be organized by someone with a positive HIV diagnosis, a healthcare professional, or a social worker. These groups are geared towards interaction and emotional support.

The final type of HIV support group is those which are based online. They offer a safe and completely anonymous space. If you select an online support group, pay attention to the size and frequency of interactions to determine its credibility and usefulness.

Where To Find Support Groups

Perhaps the simplest way to find an HIV support group is to talk to your doctor, healthcare provider, or clinic. They may organize a support group or at the very least, they will be able to offer a recommendation. You should also contact the national or state HIV organizations located near you as they will have a list of support groups. Other resources for finding a support group include your place of worship, HIV hotlines, and HIV publications.

Characteristics Of A Good Support Group

Finding possible HIV support groups to join is simply the first step in the process. Next, you will have to discover which of the support groups meet your requirements. Consider whether the support group is able to offer confidentiality. Also keep in mind whether you will feel judged or embarrassed during meetings of the support group. Try to discover more about the experiences of current and past support group members, including whether or not the group assisted them with working through their emotional problems and other immediate issues they needed assistance with.

Why Find A Support Group

In some cases, those who have recently been diagnosed with HIV will feel as if they do not need a support group. In reality, however, joining one of these groups will allow you to experience improved understanding and support as well as learn tips to help you cope with your diagnosis. Support groups can also allow you to develop new friendships and improve your mood.