Today, an HIV infection is no longer life-threatening thanks to antiretroviral medications, but a positive test result is still seen by most as a turning point in life that is difficult to manage. This shock is often triggered by the old images of AIDS, which many people cannot get out of their heads. Especially young people hardly know anyone with an HIV infection and often do not have a realistic idea of what life with HIV looks like today.
The first reactions after an HIV diagnosis are often feelings of guilt, self-reproach and panic. Sometimes, however, this phase only begins after years of repression. It is important to have someone at your side with whom you can speak openly and trustworthy about everything and who knows what you are talking about.
This is where the Deutsche Aidshilfe's Buddy Project comes into play. People who are newly diagnosed as HIV-positive are connected to people who have been living with the infection for some time – who are there as a contact person and who will stand by your side to help during your first “positive” steps.
With these specially-trained Buddies you can discuss all the questions that come up after an HIV diagnosis, such as:
- Who can I tell about my infection?
- I know who infected me – what can I do with my anger?
- How do I deal with HIV and sex?
- Where can I find doctors specializing in HIV?
- What local and nationwide self-help offers are available?
- Where can I get advice and professional support?
The Buddies close the gap between an HIV test and professional counseling services – for example at an HIV/AIDS service organization (Aidshilfe). Buddies do not offer classic professional advice, but let others share their life experiences. Similarly, Buddies do not provide legal, medical or psychological advice. All Buddies in this project are subject to secrecy, but do not have the special right to refuse to give evidence. And despite our compliance with all data protection regulations, when contacting Buddies via email, absolute confidentiality cannot be guaranteed due to possible technical factors.
The Buddy Project was developed by people with HIV.