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What you can expect

HIV positive individuals often contemplate the meaning and purpose of life and death and may examine the role of spirituality or religion in their lives. These concerns are triggered by learning of a life-threatening disease. People deal with these spiritual concerns in different ways. Some try to reconnect with the religion or religious institution that they were previously with. Others turn to other religions that are new and appropriate to them.

Spirituality is seen as a broader category within which religious beliefs may or may not function. A broader kind of spirituality usually entails some of the following:

  • A feeling of connectedness and belonging in the universe.
  • A belief in some kind of power or spirit outside of one’s self.
  • The belief that life has a purpose and meaning and that a person can therefore search for ultimate and personal truths.

What you can do

You can live positively if you remember the following:

  • People are not machines and nobody is perfect. People sometimes do take risks or act incautiously.
  • We can choose to stay angry with other people (or with ourselves) and spoil the rest of our lives but that will not change what has happened to us. However, you can change the rest of your live by choosing to live positively and by helping others.
  • Prayer can heal. Science can’t explain how this happens but it does. Important things that you should know about prayer:
    • Have faith. Faith is not about thoughts and words. It is about feelings. When you pray pretend that you have already received what you are praying for (be realistic). Be thankful for already having it.
    • Don’t worry about how it will happen. Fear and doubt stop prayers from working (don’t think about whether or not something will happen).
    • Ask for what you want and not for what you want to be taken away. For example, pray for health, not for your illness to be taken away.
    • Ask for exactly what it is you would like, or say exactly what you are grateful for. Be willing to be surprised at how the prayer will be answered. Believe that you deserve what you are praying for – be ready to get what it is you asked for.