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HIV/AIDS

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Coping with HIV/AIDS: Fear and Anxiety

for Veterans and the Public

Fear and anxiety

Fear and anxiety may be caused by not knowing what to expect now that you've been diagnosed with HIV, or not knowing how others will treat you after they find out you have HIV. You also may be afraid of telling people--friends, family members, and others--that you are HIV positive.

Fear can make your heart beat faster or make it hard for you to sleep. Anxiety also can make you feel nervous or agitated. Fear and anxiety might make you sweat, feel dizzy, or feel short of breath.

Ways to control your feelings of fear and anxiety include the following:

  • Learn as much as you can about HIV/AIDS.
  • Get your questions answered by your VA health care provider.
  • Talk with your friends, family members, and health care providers.
  • Join a support group.
  • Help others who are in the same situation, such as by volunteering at an HIV/AIDS service organization. This may empower you and lessen your feelings of fear.
  • Talk to your doctor about medicines for anxiety if the feelings don't lessen with time or if they get worse.