Behaviour Change: A Patient/Professional Perspective (Report)
HIV Nursing 2010, Autumn, 10, 3
This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.
KReceiving an HIV diagnosis is a defining moment. I have often likened it to being brought to a screeching halt at a red STOP light, whereupon a huge magnifying glass focuses on your life to show you exactly what's got you here. That was my experience in 1991, and as I had already started looking at my issues around low self-esteem and confidence, internalised homophobia and their link to excessive alcohol use, it was a watershed moment. I was a scared and pessimistic 23-year-old who was told he wouldn't live to see 30, but was determined to have some kind of real life before that and ideally, not be drunk while it happened. I had been immersed in the London club scene for 5 years and the HIV diagnosis was yet more evidence (on top of a nearly ruined liver and a constant sense of insecurity) that things weren't working. Having already tried counselling and a year's abstinence from alcohol (followed by another year of drinking just as much as before), I finally acknowledged in 1992 that I was a mess and that if I wanted to live as long and healthily as possible I needed to change. I took the '12-step programme' route, as medication and counselling had not done the trick, and found that learning from others who had the same difficulties was a rewarding and humbling experience. Peer support was a revelation - I heard people express feelings I couldn't have put into words and was not only encouraged to speak and be heard, but was told to get involved and help others while working on my issues. Like many gay men I met, my lack of self-esteem had manifested itself in a desperate need to be wanted and desired, which meant that, when alcohol or drugs were added, I would pretty much do whatever someone wanted, just to keep them around, even if we ran out of condoms. In short, good health and long life was not my priority - feeling wanted in the moment was more important to me.
- Category: Health & Fitness
- Published: Sep 22, 2010
- Publisher: Mediscript Ltd.
- Seller: The Gale Group, Inc.
- Print Length: 9 Pages
- Language: English