How do I support my friend who has HIV?

Has a friend recently told you that they are HIV positive? And you want to be a good friend and find out how you can help them? We have some tips here to get you started.

It may have been very hard for them to share this with you. Many people with HIV find it very hard to tell even their closest friends. So honour that trust. Do not share this information with others. It is confidential. It is up to your friend to decide who they want to tell and at what time.

Before you can help your friend, let them know that you accept and support them. HIV should not change your friendship. And let them know you are available to listen when they want to talk. Take the time to find out all the facts about HIV so that you can also help her by confirming the right information about HIV.

How can you respond in a positive and helpful way? 

DO say:

  • “I appreciate you telling me that.”
  • “You’re not alone.”
  • “I am here for you.”
  • “This must be scary for you.”
  • “Have you started treatment yet?”
  • “Is there anything I can do to be a good friend right now?”

DON’T say:

  • “How long do you have to live?”
  • “How did you get it?” 
  • “Who gave it to you?”
  • “I hope I don’t get it from you!”

Do not overwhelm your friend with questions. Focus on listening.  That way you make your friend feel safe and comfortable. Answering your questions will come later. 

It is important to make sure that your friend is on treatment and taking it correctly. Find out more here.

If you are not sure how to support your friend, you can contact loveLife for advice.

loveLife Call Centre: 0800 121 900 (from any Telkom public phone)

loveLife Pls Cal Me Service:
Vodacom: *140*0833231023#
MTN: *121*0833231023#
Cell C: *111*0833231023#
Telkom: *140*0833231023#

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