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HIV INFECTION AND ITS EFFECTS ON THE EMOTIONS: ANGER AND ENERGY-IF YOU’RE A CAREGIVER

If you are taking care of someone with the virus, understand that the disease is the target and you are not. The person you’re caring for is feeling anger, not hatred; they do not blame you. Lisa said, “The anger and rage my husband felt were his issues and not in my control. I knew it was just his guilt for bringing the virus into our lives. It’s easier to deal with his annoyance over something understandable than it is to deal with the feeling of being unloved.”     Allow the person with HIV infection to express the anger, though that can be difficult when, as Lisa said, “they’re shouting at you.” Dean did a certain amount of yelling in the presence of his partner; his partner told him, “Go ahead and get it over with. Get it out of your system. It’s understandable.” Try not to judge the person or to confront him or her: judgment and confrontation will only further misdirect the anger toward you.     Acknowledge the struggle the person is having. Try saying, “I know it is hard for you. Cold oatmeal really does not taste good, and I’ll heat it up again.” This may help the angry person dissipate the anger and understand its true target.     Still, you need not try to achieve sainthood during your lifetime. No caregiver is neutral; often caregivers have long histories with the people they are caring for, and many old sources of anger get confused with the new ones. Nor is letting them talk about their anger the same as letting them take it out on you. Remind them that their anger is difficult for you to hear, and difficult to separate out from old problems. Dean’s partner not only told him to get it over with, but also said, “Thank goodness you don’t go blowing up all the time.” When Dean’s partner felt he had taken too much abuse, he would pull away. Dean said he noticed this, calmed down, and worked to recover his perspective.
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HIV INFECTION AND ITS EFFECTS ON THE BODY: AIDS-RELATED COMPLEX, OR ARC-IDIOPATHIC THROMBOCYTOPENIC PURPURA (ITP)

When a person has idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, or ITP, the body for some reason produces antibodies which attack the platelets that allow the blood to clot. Thus, the symptoms of ITP are excessive bruising and bleeding. ITP is a relatively unusual medical condition that can occur in people without HIV infection, but it is far more common in those with the infection. Most people are unaware of this condition; it is usually discovered with routine laboratory testing. Several forms of treatment are considered effective.     Whether ITP means that HIV infection is progressing is unclear. Many studies have shown that people with HIV-related ITP do not go on to get AIDS any faster than people with HIV infection who do not have ITP. Other studies have shown that people with HIV-related ITP develop AIDS more quickly than people who have HIV infection but do not have ITP.
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