Fear of Sickness and Death
An HIV positive diagnosis may trigger thoughts of your own mortality. Here are some things to think about if this happens to you.
Almost everyone is afraid of getting sick and dying. If you're young, you may never have had to face the death of someone close to you. We often think of dying as something that happens only when we're old. You may never have really considered the reality of your own death before. Now, suddenly, you are HIV positive and your mortality becomes very real. You may be afraid of pain, of hospitals, or of becoming unattractive to others through an illness.
Your reaction to the idea of getting sick or dying could go one of two ways. You may decide that you are definitely going to live and that there is no way that this virus is ever going to "get" you. This is a form of what's called denial -- refusing to face some of the possibilities of living with HIV. If you find yourself feeling this way, try to keep in mind that having hope to go on with your life is good. However, it can become dangerous if it keeps you from taking care of yourself.
Another other way you might choose to deal with the subject is by deciding that you are absolutely going to die of this and there is nothing you can do about it. If you go this way, you may find yourself fantasizing about your own sickness and death. You have to keep in mind that there are many people who are HIV positive who are living long, productive, happy lives, and you can be among them if you choose. It's good to face up to the possible consequences of this infection, but not to the point that living today becomes less important than your fear of the future. It helps to remind yourself that everyone will die, but that doesn't prevent most people from living today.
Some people hope for the best and plan for the worst. This is an approach that can be very strong. Just remember, that in planning for the worst you may be imagining a thousand things that will never happen. Don't forget to hope for the best and plan for that too.