TALK WITH YOUR HCP

What’s keeping you from getting help?

If you’re living with HIV and have diarrhea, you are certainly not alone. And if you’re worried about talking with your healthcare provider (HCP) about it, that’s a common problem, too. It’s not an easy thing to talk about; even the word “die–uh–REE–uh” sounds lousy.

 

Diarrhea is not just uncomfortable. It may lead people living with HIV to:

  • Stop antiretroviral therapy (ART) for a little while or even a long time
  • Have a cycle of diarrhea and constipation that may be related to the use of over-the-counter (OTC) antidiarrheal medicines
  • Feel anxious because they are missing out on activities, social events, and intimacy

To help you bring up the topic with your HCP and take steps toward getting relief, changing your negative thoughts to positive ones may help. Consider trying these.

Rather than thinking…

  • Diarrhea is just something I have to live with because I have HIV.
  • I’m too embarrassed to talk about diarrhea with my HCP.
  • It’s silly to complain about diarrhea. I mean, there are so many worse things that can happen.
  • Diarrhea is a small price to pay if it means my treatment is keeping my HIV from progressing.
  • Diarrhea is my problem—not a problem for most people living with HIV.

Think instead…

  • Diarrhea is just something I have to live with because I have HIV.
  • I’m too embarrassed to talk about diarrhea with my HCP.
  • It’s silly to complain about diarrhea. I mean, there are so many worse things that can happen.
  • Diarrhea is a small price to pay if it means my treatment is keeping my HIV from progressing.
  • Diarrhea is my problem—not a problem for most people living with HIV.

 

Diarrhea is not just uncomfortable.  It may lead people living with HIV to:

  • Stop antiretroviral therapy (ART) for a little while or even a long time
  • I’m too embarrassed to talk about diarrhea with my HCP.
  • Have a cycle of diarrhea and constipation that may be related to the use of over-the-counter (OTC) antidiarrheal medicines
  • Feel anxious because they are missing out on activities, social events, and intimacy

 

And unfortunately, some HCPs don’t believe HIV-related diarrhea is a problem or that it can be helped. But as you may know firsthand, it is a problem. And it’s worth having what may be an uncomfortable conversation to be able to keep your pants on…unless, of course, you don’t want to.

If your HCP says…

  • Diarrhea can’t be that big of a problem for you.
  • What matters most is that your HIV is well controlled.
  • Maybe it’s your diet or stress levels—not something associated with HIV.
  • Maybe you should try OTC medicines for your diarrhea.
  • Diarrhea is just one of those things that people with HIV needs to deal with.

Consider saying this…

  • It is a big problem that’s affecting my everyday life—how I spend my time and where I’m able to go.
  • Yes, I’m grateful to be doing well with my HIV, but diarrhea is taking away from the quality of my life.
  • I’ve tried making changes in my diet and lifestyle, but the diarrhea doesn’t go away. It’s more than that for me—and it’s having a big impact.
  • I’ve tried those medicines. If anything, I seem to get in a cycle of constipation and diarrhea, over and over again. It’s not relieving the problem.
  • I know it’s a common problem, and I’ve definitely spent a lot of time trying to just deal with this. But it’s like my life is revolving around my diarrhea now. Is there a prescription medicine that could help?

 

How can you talk openly with your HCP?

Get helpful tips to get the conversation started with your HCP.

 


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