How Christianity Helped Me Cope With HIV

It costs nothing to be a kind person, to treat others with respect and appreciation instead of being angry or indifferent all the time.

Having HIV for many years means I’ve seen lots of my brothers lose the battle to AIDS-related illnesses while I lived on. Death doesn’t really happen to the person that dies. It happens to everyone around that person, and despite the fact I’ve lost many friends, every time it happens I can’t help but think about God. Why them and not me? Does he really have a purpose for me others weren’t able to fulfill? Honestly, I doubt it. One of the things I’m still learning is not to question God too much because I’ve had to wonder if He were real more than once. However, I more than focus on some basic Christian values, and on Christian HIV dating, when it comes to coping with living with the virus and helping others find a way to power through whatever life throws at them.

#1: Compassion

Being compassionate when you’re healthy, loved, and happy borders on sympathy, but when you’re ill and see another person suffering, you understand their pain on a whole new level. At the same time, I’ve learned to accept the fact my friends and family show compassion whichever way they can, and even though they can’t quite comprehend what my life is really like, I accept it’s an expression of love and appreciation. If they’re not really keeping up with the latest developments in treating HIV, I let it go because they do have their own lives. At the same time, when a friend is sick or has a sick family member, I offer to help and actually do in practical ways.

#2: Kindness

It costs nothing to be a kind person, to treat others with respect and appreciation instead of being angry or indifferent all the time. Kindness is the most spiritual Christian principle to me because I firmly believe in treating people the way you want to be treated. If someone turns me down because of my status in an insensitive way I make sure to stand tall despite the fact they’re being unkind. I try to go out and do one thing that means little to me but it makes someone else’s day. The fact that I have HIV has brought my existence down to some very simple principles – I find pleasure in helping others. I volunteer at the animal shelter and donate to charity. Had I not contracted this virus, I would have probably been too busy climbing up the social ladder, building my career, and changing sexual partners like they were disposable.

#3: Forgiveness

Every time I’m faced with societal stigma related to HIV, I remind myself I’ve contracted the virus in the search of acceptance, belonging, intimacy, and love. By all means, I engaged in some pretty risky sexual behavior which led to the infection, but I’ve learned to forgive myself for it. I forgave myself long ago for being the way I am and for making the choices that I’ve made. And let me tell you something, forgiving yourself is probably the most liberating thing you can do to help yourself stay sane in this day and age. At the same time, I’ve forgiven my ex for breaking up with me because he just couldn’t deal with dating someone who was positive. I’ve forgiven my parents for never really knowing me for who I was. I’ve forgiven the person that infected me because I simply had to move on from all the anger and hate. Holding on to it would have killed me faster than AIDS. The single most important thing I’ve learned is that nothing can enrich our lives as much as treating each other as human beings.

This content is sponsored by Stefan Simonovic.

Photo: Shutterstock

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