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Understanding Psychology of HIV Patients

Social stigma against people with HIV

Lack of defense against disease is caused by a HIV virus. Society has a bad view and a poor response to anyone who suffers from this disease. Murphy et al. (2002) in his study of a sick family said the family member with AIDS disease are found to be affected physically and mentally either members of the family and the patients as well. This disease is a fatal disease and provide endless stigma. They are regarded as the negative people for violations, religious, moral, and social (Aishah, 2002). In fact, family members are also victim in this situation and despised by some people. Fear of the disease has arisen because of the stigma against individuals and communities as well as the patient’s family practitioner lifestyle as immoral and unnatural sex. (Aishah, 2002). Isolation of individuals and families living with HIV is causing distress to the patient and family members. There are also those who say that AIDS is a ‘metaphor sin’ motivated crimes, despised, condemned, and should be punished.

Recognizing Negative Response of HIV Patients

Those related issues are the most dreaded and feared by anyone who is suffering and tested positive for HIV. Less knowledge about HIV disease and a negative mind will get stuck ones ability to think wisely. HIV sufferers will experience a feeling of fear of facing death and also no hope for life. HIV patients will show a variety of reactions when diagnosed with HIV.

Newly diagnosed HIV patients will be stunned. He or she will be confused and don’t know what to do and actions to be taken and start asking questions that do not make sense and also show strange emotional behavior.

Sometimes newly diagnosed HIV patients refuse to believe that they had HIV. They will be in denial state. Various reasons such as an error or damage to the machine (hardware), error information and so on. Refusal to accept a diagnosed positive results can be severe pressure on the victim. He or she will begin to concoct a story to protect themselves from HIV itself. They will claim that they were forced to inject drugs, raped, sodomized, touching, just kissing, during a blood transfusion when they realize that he is a high-risk practitioners. HIV patients are not always consistent with the same plot of story. Thus this will take a long time to accept the fact that they are diagnosed with HIV positive and to seek HIV treatment.

Getting To Know Emotions of HIV Patients

Denial usually shown as anger, blame the others, poor locus control and refused to take positive action HIV sufferers who practice promiscuity will start to get angry with themselves and feel guilty because the disease will affect the well-being of their family. HIV patients who are sick and weak will affect work ability (capacity), especially if the level of “advance”. Financial problems and loss of income is a critical issue at this stage. HIV patients may be the source of funding for his family. They will lose their source of income if they are the “sole breadwinner”. In fact, he would be a burden to his family now. Thus, the inability to resume responsibility for their children and family will have a serious impact on people living with HIV.

The social stigma associated with HIV dreaded by people living with HIV. Due to that, they try to hide their disease from their partner, friends, and family members. People with HIV thinks that it was a form of punishment where the disease block every aspect of his or her life. There are also people living with HIV avoid “social contact” and will not ask for help because they feel unworthy to be respected and loved for their sin. So, people with HIV may live in a state of disappointment and always afraid that they will be set aside by family and society. This fear will diminish if they share their feelings with someone that are sailing in the same boat or other HIV positive patient.

Boost HIV Patient’s Self Esteem

In addition they need guidance in order to believe in themselves, they are afraid of something that is not necessary and also make them aware that there is no point deceiving themselves constantly When these fears can be overcome, people living with HIV must be frank and open to their loved ones for their own safety. A person living with HIV will think that others are fearful, preoccupied judge, observe and deal with something negative about him. In this case people living with HIV need more help and encouragement from members of the public when compared with the support of medical nurses. Acceptance by members of the public convince people living with HIV that she or he has the same value as others.

Emotional control Of HIV Patients

Feeling shocked, isolated from society, refusal to accept the fact and causes of the HIV thought that there is no longer any reason to continue living. They may feel useless and refused to interact with other people. Depression will result in a weak physical and mental. Low self-esteem will also be experienced by sufferers of HIV. He will not be in a relationship because he felt he is a poisonous and could make other ill as well. They would exclude themselves from their life partner and also loved ones. At this stage HIV patient need critical help from an expert or knowledgeable person about HIV and sex to overcome this situation and give them a positive picture about issues related to HIV.

Counselling effectiveness in helping patients with HIV

HIV patient usually begin to accept the fact, as a result of counseling sessions conducted by skilled personnel on HIV / AIDS and HIV patients psychology. In counseling sessions, they begin to understand the disease and treatment, psychological aspects such as strength and weaknesses as well as fend off the stigma, the “do’s and don’ts, and also healthy lifestyle. Then they start thinking about the best way to live life. Psychology Officer should play an important role to help people living with HIV to disclosure their illness to family members and friends. Disclosure of HIV status is generally associated with good physical health, psychological and behavioral including receipt of HAART treatment. Research has shown that HIV-positive individuals who declare their HIV status will not regret in the long run.

HIV sufferers will continue to experience stress and pressure even after undergoing various therapies (Psychology) and HAART treatment. HIV will suffer from stress related side effects of medications consumed. They need an specialized counselling officer to give insight on issues related compliance, effectiveness and sustainability of HAART treatment. Retention and an on going HAART treatment will give great impact towards a meaningful life.

In conclusion stress and pressure cannot be separated from the person who are tested positive for HIV. It will always haunt people until the end of life.


  1. Aishah @ Eshah Haji Mohamad (2002) Patients, Families and AIDS: Stigma and psychosocial effects. Journal of Psychology, 16, 75 -88
  2. Mat Saad Abd.Rahman (2008) Issues in Islamic society Malysia, iBook Publication Sdn Bhd., Rawang.
  3. Mohammed Ismail Ahmad, Suzaina Che Wil (2006) Deal with problem families, Caberawet Publishing Sdn Bhd., Kuala Lumpur
  4. Murphy DA, Marelich WD, Stritto MED, Swendeman D, Witkin A (2002) Mothers living with HIV / AIDS: Mental, physical, and family functioning. AIDS Care 14 (5), 633 -644
  5. nat.org.uk, Psychological Support for People Living with HIV, July 2010
Last Reviewed : 21 February 2017
Writer : Nadarajan a/l Gopalkrishnan
Translator : Hema Nair a/p Suppariam
Accreditor : Tn Hj Hairol Kamal bin Abd Rahman